The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has filed a lawsuit against a local butcher for allegedly selling ground beef and sausage that contains cow hearts and other ingredients.
Attorney General Chris Koster says from September 2010 through March 2011 the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the USDA conducted an investigation into John's Butcher Shoppee as the result of an anonymous tip.
Koster says there is no danger to consumers.
“But when you go to the grocery store and you buy ground beef, you certainly don’t expect that you are going to have cardiac tissue or cow heart mixed in with your ground beef,” said Koster. “It is a clear misrepresentation and it is unlawful under USDA policy and we believe that John’s Butcher Shoppee was well aware of that.”
Koster is asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop John’s Butcher Shoppee and its principle operators, brothers Michael and Thomas Kolish from selling the products. Koster says the motivation for them to mislabel the products is to make an unlawful profit.
“John’s Butcher Shoppee is buying the cow hearts at about $0.65 cents to $0.95 a pound, where ground beef is going to cost about $1.39 to $2.00 a pound,” said Koster. “So, the butcher is doubling its profit margin on this and at the same time undercutting local area competitors. ”
A call to John’s Butcher Shoppee in Festus was not immediately returned.