ONSTED, Mich., Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Groeb Farms, Inc., a global leader in honey processing and best-in-class producer of food ingredients, industrial sweeteners and food service products, today announced that it has reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) relating to an investigation into transshipped honey.
The agreement fully resolves an investigation alleging that Groeb Farms, primarily acting through two former senior executives, purchased transshipped honey, thereby avoiding payment of import duties and fees on certain foreign honey shipments between February 2008 and April 2012. The government has not alleged that Groeb Farms violated any food safety laws.
In its own press release, DOJ today announced the two former executives of Groeb Farms "purchased Chinese-origin honey for processing" and "engaged in fraudulent practices despite the company's own audits and inspections that raised substantial concerns that the honey was illegally imported." The executives "also provided false information to the company's board of directors, customers and the public."
To resolve this matter, Groeb Farms has, among other things, fully cooperated with the Department of Justice and proactively implemented a comprehensive compliance program for the company's supply chain. Senior executives who were responsible for Groeb Farms' purchasing and mislead the Board of Directors, customers and the public about transshipping are no longer with the company. As part of this agreement, Groeb Farms has agreed to pay a $2 million fine and the case will be dismissed after 2 years, following continued compliance.
"We take full responsibility for and deeply regret any errors that were made in the past regarding the import of honey," said Rolf Richter, the new Groeb Farms CEO. Richter joined the company in July 2012 and brings more than 30 years of national food brand experience. "I would like to clarify that there are no allegations regarding the safety of our products. I can assure you that operating in a safe and ethical manner in all aspects of our business is a top priority for our new team. We are all committed to ensuring that we continue to deliver safe products that are of excellent quality, pay all duties and fees, and meet and exceed our customers' expectations," Richter added.
In addition to Richter, the new senior leadership team includes new Vice President of Supply Chain John Wolf, who has 24 years of operations, purchasing and procurement experience with Kellogg's.
About Groeb Farms
Headquartered in Onsted, Mich., Groeb Farms is the largest honey packer in the nation. For more than 30 years, the company has provided the finest, top quality, wholesome and safe honey and related food products to industrial and retail customers as well as the American consumer.
SOURCE Groeb Farms, Inc.