Trucking company owner fined in contaminated milk scheme

Dean A. Landis, owner of Pennsylvania-based D.A. Landis Trucking Inc., pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation and one year of house arrest for falsifying driver logbooks in a scheme to conceal the sale of contaminated milk to a cheese manufacturer.

Landis Trucking hauled at least 20 loads of milk from dairy farms throughout Pennsylvania that were deemed unusable when testing revealed unacceptable levels of antibiotics in the milk, according to a report in the Morning Call.

The dairy processors reported to the state that the contaminated milk was dumped into the manure pit of a Lancaster County farm based on false information provided by Landis Trucking, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia. However, Landis instructed drivers to return to the fleet terminal with the contaminated milk, where it was transferred to another trailer.

Prosecutors charged that the contaminated milk was then trucked to the Lebanon Cheese Company in Hunterdon County, N.J., where owner Joseph Lotito purchased it at a substantially reduced price.

Lotito used the antibiotic-laced milk to make gourmet ricotta cheese, which was sold to consumers, according to the Call. Lotito was charged separately in the case that was investigated jointly by the DOT and the Food and Drug Administration.

In addition to probation, Landis was ordered to pay a $15,000 individual fine and the trucking company was ordered to pay a separate $250,000 fine. The fleet was also ordered to implement a compliance and ethics plan.

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