Double H Farmers plead guilty [December 12]

Double H Farmers plead guilty [December 12]

Mess with The Man and you will pay. That’s today’s lesson for Double H farmers Richard Bean and Jean Rinaldi, who butchered their own pigs and sold the resulting parts in defiance of food safety laws. Consequently, they were arrested and hauled off to Nelson County jail where they were served with four misdemeanors each. Seven more plus a felony followed in Charlottesville because of their participation in the City Market.

Jean Rinaldi and Richard Bean agreed to a host of conditions in a Nelson County plea agreement. "We’re going to behave now because we don’t want anymore trouble," says Rinaldi.


Previous Double H coverage:

All you can’t eat
The Double H Farm case highlights how local meat farmers just can’t swallow government food regulations

Nelson County for Double H
Supervisors to write letter to General Assembly

Double H farmers busted for selling pork
Nelson County couple hit with 12 counts for selling “life-transforming” food

Previous local food coverage:

Food fights
Charlottesville is a hub for the new local food movement. But what happens when food gets to be more political than flavorful?

The $5 tomato
How upscale produce, a status symbol for the new foodies, is saving local farms

This morning, at approximately 11:30am, the two pleaded guilty in Nelson County court to a reduced charge of one misdemeanor, a year of probation, and a $1,000 fine that was suspended. They also agreed to a number of conditions:

1. Be of good behavior and not violate the penal laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia;
2. All amenable species not legally exempted shall be slaughtered at a state or federally inspected facility;
3. The processing area/kitchen at Double H Farm shall be inspected by the appropriate authority before products may be sold;
4. The processing of state or federally inspected carcasses into retail cuts, ground meat and sausage products shall be permitted provided that the processing area/kitchen is approved under paragraph 3 above, and those products may be sold at the Double H Farm or Farmer’s Market(s) or other duly authorized and appropriate locations;
5. All retail operations shall be conducted in compliance with the retail exemption as defined in 9 C.F.R. Section 303; and,
6. There shall be no representation written or verbal that any meat products are "Certified Organic" unless the certification is first obtained from the appropriate authority.

Since being arrested in September, the farmers had already taken measures to act in compliance with Virginia Department of Health standards by having their meat killed and processed at a duly licensed slaughterhouse, causing them to raise their pork prices by $1 a pound. They have also removed "certified organic" off their yellow bus and installed a number of items—a hot water heater, washable walls—on their farm in hopes of passing inspection at their own place.

To that end, they are being visited on Friday by officials with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to get guidance. "We just have to work with VDACS step-by-step," Rinaldi says. "We’re going to behave now because we don’t want anymore trouble." Their Charlottesville court appearance will be on December 27.

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