I.D.F. settles in 2004 case on export documentation

by Josh Sosland
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SPRINGFIELD, MO. — International Dehydrated Foods, Inc. on Oct. 24 said it has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice in connection with an incident dating back four years.

I.D.F. said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri had agreed to a settlement over the inaccurate dating on a shipping certificate for product exported in 2004. The 600-lb shipment to a single customer in South America contained chicken powder, chicken fat and chicken broth.

Under terms of the plea agreement, I.D.F. will pay a $250,000 fine and $77,282 for the cost of the government investigation into the incident. Also in connection with the case, I.D.F. reached a consent decision and order with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The company acknowledged it had erred in the documentation.

"The rules are complex and vary by country, and we simply made a mistake," said Tom Slaight, chairman of the board. "Errors such as this can sometimes occur in the highly complex regulatory environment in which we operate. Nevertheless, confidence in documentation accuracy is extremely important to us, and inaccurate information of any kind is unacceptable. We sincerely regret any concerns this may have caused our customers or the U.S.D.A."

At the same time, Mr. Slaight emphasized that the settlement involved an error in documentation rather than either safety or product quality.

The company said it was alerted to the error in 2005 by U.S.D.A. inspectors. The company said it immediately took steps to prevent a recurrence.

I.D.F. manufactures and further processes meat and poultry ingredients.

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