LEAMINGTON — Greenhouse grower AMCO Produce Inc. was fined $210,000 for passing off Mexican-grown vegetables as Canadian last month.
Federal prosecutors dug through so much data to prove their case it was the equivalent of going through 28 Bibles, prosecutor Paul Bailey told the Windsor Star.
A random Canadian Food Inspection Agency visit to the Ontario Food Terminal in February, 2013 turned ugly for AMCO Produce when inspectors saw a case of peppers labelled as Ontario produce. Inspectors also found tomatoes from the company at local grocery stores also labelled as Ontario produce. “This was very suspicious given the fact that it was February,” as growing fresh produce during the winter is very expensive, even in a greenhouse, Bailey told the Star. Many greenhouse operators stop growing at the coldest time of year because of high energy costs.
The Essex County grower is the third to be fined for falsely labelling its produce. Mucci Farms at Kingsville and two of its top executives were fined $1.5 million in 2016 for labelling Mexican produce as Canadian. Thomas Canning at Maidstone was fined $40,000 last year for falsely labelling some of its regular canned tomato products as organic.