A Connecticut meat supplier has been sentenced to two years of probation for fabricating E. coli test results at his meat processing business
Matt Beqiri, 33, of Tolland, was sentenced on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine, said John H. Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Beqiri is the owner and general manager of New England Meat Packing, located in Stafford Springs, a federally inspected business engaged in the slaughtering, processing, selling, and transporting of meat and meat food products for human consumption.
Under federal guidelines, the company is required to perform one generic E. coli carcass swab for every 300 animals slaughtered and to periodically collect ground beef samples for E. coli testing, the documents said.
Between Nov. 3, 2016, and Sept. 9, 2017, faked 36 documents, each on the letterhead of a certified laboratory that tests food product samples, to ensure safety and wholesomeness and signed by the laboratory director.
The documents stated that the required E. coli testing of samples submitted by New England Meat Packing had been conducted and completed and that all 52 samples tested negative for E. coli. In fact, none of the 52 carcass swabs and samples had been submitted or tested by the identified laboratory, or any other laboratory, and the 36 documents were fraudulently prepared using laboratory letterhead obtained from the previous testing that New England Meat Packing had conducted with that laboratory, the documents showed.
During an investigation, Beqiri admitted to an investigator with USDA that the documents were fraudulent and that his business did not collect and submit the samples to the certified laboratory because he did not correlate the potential impact on food safety with his sampling program and wanted to create the appearance he was compliant with all USDA testing requirements.
There have been no known instances of illnesses reported by anyone who consumed the meat in any of the states where the meat was distributed.
On August 20, 2019, Beqiri pleaded guilty to one count of making and using a false document and aiding and abetting.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.