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Archive for Wednesday, May 20, 1992

TAINTED MEAT CASE TO BE SENT TO DA

May 20, 1992

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State health officials are reviewing reports of an investigation of a Lawrence supermarket before referring the case to local prosecutors for possible prosecution.

Greg Crawford, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said agency attorneys still are reviewing state inspectors' findings that Food 4 Less, 2525 Iowa, tried to sell meat that was embargoed at the chain's Leavenworth store.

Crawford said the agency intends to refer the matter to the Douglas County district attorney and Leavenworth County attorney once the review is complete and supporting materials, such as affidavits, are assembled.

According to a letter KDHE Secretary Azzie Young sent to Sen. Wint Winter Jr., R-Lawrence, earlier this month, state food and drug laws do not provide for administrative sanctions in such cases but classify the violation as a misdemeanor, which must be prosecuted in court.

Crawford said he did not know how soon the KDHE's information would be sent to the local prosecutors.

State food inspectors initially became involved in the case after a fire April 25 at the Leavenworth Food 4 Less store. State officials said they embargoed a large quantity of meat thought to be damaged by smoke or non-potable water, meaning it could not be sold to the public.

Although state officials said Food 4 Less destroyed most of the meat, some meat covered by the embargo apparently was shipped to Lawrence for sale in the local store, where Crawford said food inspectors found it the following week.

Kent Laughman, president of the Midwest division of Falley's Food 4 Less, has said he does not know how the meat got to the Lawrence store.

Laughman denied that company officials authorized the meat to be shipped anywhere but to a nearby landfill and that company records do not show the meat was transported to Lawrence in a company vehicle.

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