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Attorney General's News Release

June 21, 2011

Attorney General Koster files lawsuit against St. Louis-area meat processor--alleges butcher shop sold ground beef containing ground cow hearts--

St. Louis, Mo. -– Attorney General Chris Koster announced today he has filed a lawsuit to stop a local meat processor from selling meat products that he alleges have been intentionally mislabeled and contain animal organs not allowed by state and federal law.

According to Koster, John’s Butcher Shoppee in Overland and Festus has fraudulently sold products labeled as “ground beef” and “sausage” that actually contain cow hearts as an ingredient. In some tested samples, heart muscle is the primary ingredient. Koster said he is asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop John’s Butcher Shoppee and the two brothers who operate the businesses from the practice.

“Consumers should be able to trust that the products they buy are what the manufacturer has advertised. In no area is this more important than in the food Missourians feed their families,” Koster said. “The introduction of cow hearts into ground beef products is an unacceptable misrepresentation to local shoppers. My office will aggressively pursue any food manufacturer who misrepresents or adulterates our local food supply.”

Koster said sixteen separate tests on products sold by John’s Butcher Shoppee by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Department of Agriculture confirmed that products advertised as “ground beef” and “sausage” contained heart muscle. Further tests on the company’s sausage also found the product contained soy.

Koster’s suit names Michael Kolish, the President of John’s Butcher Shoppee, Inc., and his brother, Thomas Kolish, Secretary of the business, as defendants.

In his civil suit, Koster is seeking full restitution for customers as well as penalties. In addition, Koster is seeking a restraining order to prevent the business from continuing this practice. Koster filed the suit in Hillsboro, south of the St. Louis metropolitan area.

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