Men Charged In Scheme to Relabel 'Choice' Beef As 'Prime'

USDA Prime beef. ( CBB )

Two Brooklyn meat wholesalers were charged this week for allegedly using counterfeit USDA stamps to misbrand “Choice” grade beef as higher-quality “Prime” and inflate the price.

Howard Mora, 67, and Alan Buxbaum, 65, the former owners of A. Stein Meat Products Inc., a wholesale meat processing and distribution company, allegedly ordered their employees to cut the “Choice” label off product and re-label it as “Prime” between 2011 and 2014.

The meat was then sold at inflated prices to customers in the New York City metropolitan area, according to the indictment.

“Customers and consumers are entitled to get what they pay for, especially when the product is food on their tables,” US Attorney Richard Donoghue said.

They pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday afternoon and were released on $250,000 bond each.

Once a thriving 75-year-old family company, A. Stein Meat Products went out of business in October 2014 after it defaulted on its debts. If convicted on the defendants face a maximum 20-year imprisonment.