The Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations announced today
the arrest of two Hondurans for importing 170,000 of contaminated cheese worth more than $322,000.
The FDA alleges Francisco Josefina Lopez, 40, and Jorge Alexis Lopez, 34, attempted to import the four shipments of cheese from Nicaraugua through Miami between December 2009 and March 2010. Three of the four shipments were contaminated with Staph. aureus. The fourth had "violative standards applicable to phosphatase”—indication the cheese had not been pasteurized.
Stateside inspectors discovered the shipments, and refused entry. The cheese was either destroyed or re-exported.
If convicted on the felony counts, each defendant could be sentenced up to three years in prison and fined $250,000 for each violation.