The division president for Falley's Food 4 Less said the company's investigation has failed to explain how meat embargoed by state health officials after an April 25 fire in Leavenworth wound up in the company's Lawrence store, 2525 Iowa.
In an interview Monday evening, Kent Laughman, president of the company's Midwest division, said he spent most of the day at the Leavenworth store, where a stock room fire had damaged inventory.
Laughman said supermarket chains routinely transfer perishable inventory from one store to another to improve chances of selling those products. However, he said, transportation schedules for the company's trucks do not show that any meat that might have been embargoed after the fire could have inadvertently been shipped to Lawrence.
"There is no schedule that we transferred any meat," he said.
GREG CRAWFORD, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the agency may decide this week whether to take punitive action against Falley's Food 4 Less. Following up on an anonymous tip early last week, health officials found embargoed meat from Leavenworth for sale in the Lawrence store.
Crawford said health officials were able to identify the meat from Leavenworth using codes on wrappers that were found in the store. Meat from the Leavenworth store allegedly had been repackaged.
Health officials said the meat they embargoed after the fire may have been damaged by smoke, water or soot.
Laughman said Leavenworth Fire Department officials are continuing their own investigation into the fire, which was believed to have been arson. He said the fire was set in cases of paper towels.
AFTER THE fire, Laughman said, the company destroyed about $36,000 worth of product.
After questions were raised about meat in the Lawrence store, Laughman said the company destroyed an additional $3,600 worth of meat. He added that two meat supervisors from the company's central meat plant in Topeka were dispatched to the Lawrence store to help health officials identify any meat that may have come from Leavenworth.
Laughman said he was baffled that the state agency had raised the possibility of taking action against the company.
"We think we've done everything the health department has asked us to do," he said. "I haven't had anybody at that department tell me otherwise."