Many of us gladly pay extra for organic produce, in the hopes that the pesticide-free fruits and vegetables are worth the extra money for their cleaner profiles and nutritional benefits. But can we really be sure that little sticker on the Mango is telling the truth?
Key Biscayne-based Antwerp, LLC was recently busted in U.S. District Court after the Miami field office of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigated claims the supplier of organic fruit and vegetable products was selling misbranded food.
According to court documents, Antwerp, which has also gone by the name
Pure Nature Organics, LLC, "knowingly and with intent to defraud,"
repackaged broccoli and green beans originating in the People's Republic
of China into containers stating the vegetables were instead a product
of Costa Rica from September to October 2007. The misbranded veggies
were then sold to a retail customer in February 2008.
FDA test results showed that the mislabeled organic products were not
contaminated in any way. After learning from the FDA about the incident, the retailer pulled all product off their shelves.
company was sentenced to three years of probation, a $50,000 criminal
fine, and was ordered to develop and implement a food distribution
compliance plan. Antwerp, LLC's managing member, Marc Meurs, pled
guilty to a misdemeanor violation and personally guaranteed the payment
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of Antwerp, LLC's $50,000 criminal fine.
Short Order tried to reach Meurs for comment at another food supplier/wholesale company located in Key Biscayne, but were told we had the wrong Marc Meurs.