MILWAUKEE, WI — A worker at a Johnsonville Sausage factory in Wisconsin was arrested on Friday for allegedly putting foreign objects into sausage links back in March. He now faces possible heavy fines and even major prison time.
Authorities say that during his regular shifts on the processing line at the Johnsonville plant, Jonathan Lane placed a piece of cigarette paper inside a sausage on March 25 and then placed a wire connector into another sausage on March 28.
On each occasion, Lane allegedly pretended to have found the objects himself and reported the contaminated materials to supervisors. His ruse, however, reportedly came undone after surveillance video depicted Lane himself tampering with the products.
Both times that Lane “discovered” tainted meat, Johnsonville shut down the factory and discarded any product that might have been included in the bad batches.Following Lane’s arrest, Johnsonville issued a statement assuring customers that none of the tainted meat made it out of the factory, declaring:
“Our members at Johnsonville take great pride in producing wholesome, great-tasting, and safe products for consumers to enjoy … We applaud our food-safety teams for the processes they have in place to identify situations like this, so that no affected product leaves our plant — which we can confirm was the case here.”
U.S. Attorney for Wisconsin Matthew Krueger praised the company for its swift and decisive action regarding safety.
Food tampering is an extremely serious crime. At present, this case is being investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Office of Inspector General (USDA/OIG).
Lane has been charged with two counts of tampering with consumer products and acting with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily harm. If convicted, Lane could face up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release — for each count.
In addition, court records indicate Lane has prior convictions for burglary, theft, and disorderly conduct.
Now, as a suspect in the Johnsonville sausage skullduggery, Lane could find himself in some very hot water.
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Main photo: Jonathan Lane [Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department]