Exec, companies set for sentencing in imitation cheese case

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A former executive will spend three years on probation and pay a $5,000 fine because two Pennsylvania cheese businesses her family controlled sold grated Swiss and mozzarella cheeses that were mislabeled and represented as parmesan and romano cheese instead.

Forty-four-year-old Michelle Myrter, of Harmony, was sentenced Tuesday by a federal judge in Pittsburgh.

Although U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspection reports and consumer lawsuits have raised questions about whether the cheeses also had too much cellulose – a filler made from wood pulp – that wasn’t an issue in the criminal case.

Myrter pleaded guilty in February, and on behalf of the Slippery Rock companies, International Packing and Universal Cheese and Drying. The companies have ceased operations and agreed to forfeit $500,000 each, though the judge has to sign off on that, too.

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