By Steve Lieberman • JournalNewsNEW SQUARE — Federal prosecutors and owners of a violation-ridden and unsanitary poultry processing facility have reached an agreement on permanently shutting down the slaughtering operation.
The consent agreement allows the plant operators to store imported fowl that is properly inspected by the federal government.
The owners of the present facility not far from Route 45 must keep records on the poultry imported and all the gross sales to the local supermarket in the village.
The agreement prohibits the plant from processing poultry or poultry products unless what amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and improvements are made to the plant.
The owners — New Square Meats — would essentially have to rebuild the slaughterhouse, based on the agreement.
Instead, the owners already have plans for a larger modernized slaughterhouse near the old plant — one that is being opposed by area residents outside of New Square.
In December 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen C. Robinson ordered the slaughterhouse shut down in violation of the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act.
New Square Meats was cited for selling uninspected poultry since 2002 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More than 355,000 birds were slaughtered there in 2008, with almost all the meat going to Oneg Poultry, a grocery store in New Square.
Federal investigators said they found poultry residue on walls and light fixtures and in the manager's office. Employee restrooms had no soap or hand sanitizer, and rubbish and foul-smelling pools of water were found outside the plant, court papers said.
If New Square Meats wants to again process chickens at the plant, it would have to ensure sanitary conditions by replacing and repairing floors, ceilings and windows to prevent rodents and flies from entering the factory.
Adir Poultry, a company connected to New Square Meats, wants to replace the slaughterhouse with a $3 million, 26,250-square-foot plant. The state Restore New York program chipped in $1.6 million toward the construction cost.
New Square's neighbors have lined up to oppose the new facility.
The New Square Board of Trustees must address a variety of environmental and site-planning issues mandated by law. No hearing has been scheduled by New Square on the proposed plant.
[Hat Tip: Burich.]