Magazine article FDA Consumer

Seafood Maker Fined for Misbranding

Magazine article FDA Consumer

Seafood Maker Fined for Misbranding

Article excerpt

When customers bought Miss Sally's stuffed crabs from Sam's Club membership stores in southern and midwestern states through early 1994, they got a handsome window package revealing crab shells stuffed with what appeared to be huge chunks of crab meat. Labels listed crab meat as a major ingredient and bore a bright orange sticker claiming "more crabmeat than ever."

But little or no crab meat was in many of those products. Instead, the shells were stuffed with surimi, a whitefish sometimes used as an inexpensive crab substitute, which should have been listed on the label.

As a result of fraudulent use of the word "crabmeat," David R. Carrington and his company, Carrington Foods Inc., of Saraland, Ala., were ordered to pay $78,000 in fines last May 15 after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count and one felony count of food product misbranding.

Carrington, 50, also was sentenced to two years' probation, and his company received five years' probation. Initially, Carrington was indicted on a felony misbranding charge, but when he agreed to plead guilty, the court downgraded the charge to misdemeanor, while retaining the felony charge for his company.

FDA first became aware of Carrington's misdeeds in late 1993, when a seafood industry consultant told FDA investigators that Carrington Foods was not putting any crab meat in its stuffed crabs. FDA considers stuffed crabs without crab meat to be "imitation stuffed crabs." In response, FDA collected numerous samples of Carrington's products and confirmed that little or no crab meat was present.

In late November and early December 1993, investigators from FDA's Mobile, Ala. …

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