Athens County farmer pleads guilty to contaminated calf

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Farm and Dairy file photo

CINCINNATI — Cory L. Gillette, 31, of Albany, Ohio, has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to having a medicated calf slaughtered with the intention of selling it as beef for human consumption.

The calf was contaminated with Gentamicin, which is not approved for use in cattle.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Mark S. McCormack, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Metro Washington Field Office, announced the plea Jan. 30, before U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black.

According to the statement of facts in this case, since 2009, Gillette has operated as a livestock dealer and hauler as the owner of Cory Gillette Farm in Athens County. Gillette transported a calf from southern Ohio to a slaughter facility in Addison, Ilinois., where it was intended to be sold as beef for human consumption.

Random inspection

The calf was slaughtered and subject to random inspection. During that inspection, the calf tested positive for Gentamicin, an aminoglycoside antibiotic.

When an investigator from the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations interviewed Gillette about the contaminated calf, Gillette lied and said he purchased the calf at a livestock auction in Zanesville.

In fact, he had not purchased the calf there, and misled investigators in an attempt to impede their ability to trace the contamination back to its source.

“As part of his plea, Gillette admitted he often bought injured, ill and potentially medicated animals at a discounted price with the intention of selling the animals to slaughter facilities and maximizing his profit,” said U.S. Attorney Glassman.

“The FDA, in partnership with the USDA, is vigilant in keeping antibiotics and other residual animal drugs out of the human food supply in the United States by carefully monitoring food-producing animals,” said Special Agent in Charge McCormack. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who put public health at risk by selling food-producing animals that do not meet federal standards.”

Gillette was charged by a bill of information in September 2018. He pleaded guilty to one count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, a crime punishable by up to one year in prison, and one count of making false statements to federal agents, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations and Assistant United States Attorney Ebunoluwa A. Taiwo, who is representing the United States in this case.

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