Slippery Rock cheesemaker pleads guilty to selling imitation cheese
February 26, 2016 1:40 PM
By Torsten Ove / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Two defunct Butler County cheese companies and one of their top corporate executives pleaded guilty today to selling imitation cheese from 2010 to 2013.
Michelle Myrter, 44, who controlled Universal Cheese & Drying and International Packing and served as president of bankrupt Castle Cheese, all of Slippery Rock, pleaded to a misdemeanor count of aiding the introduction of mis-branded and adulterated food into interstate commerce.
She also entered pleas on behalf of Universal and International Packing, both of which are out of business, of conspiring to introduce mis-branded products and conspiracy to commit money-laundering.
Castle Cheese, of which Ms. Myrter was an executive, made varieties of cheese while Universal dried, chopped and sold the product under different labels.
The companies and Ms. Myrter were charged in criminal complaints in October.
The Food and Drug Administration said Castle Cheese sold imitation Parmesan and Romano cheese and that the product contained other cheeses, such as Swiss and white cheddar, and didn't contain any milk.
The U.S. attorney's office said the companies sold the imitation cheese to retail and wholesale outlets with labels that said it was 100 percent real when it wasn't.
No sentencing date was set and Ms. Myrter's lawyer, Stephen Stallings, would not comment. But he had previously indicated that Ms. Myrter had negotiated a plea in which she would receive probation and the two companies would each pay $500,000 in forfeiture and restitution.
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