U.S. company pleads guilty to halal exports conspiracy

Cedar Rapids, Iowa — A company that markets food products to observant Muslims has pleaded guilty to its role in exporting misbranded meat products.

Midamar Corp. entered the plea Wednesday to conspiracy to make false statements on export certificates, sell misbranded meat, and commit wire fraud. Midamar is expected to forfeit $600,000 under a plea agreement.

Despite the guilty plea, the plea deal allows Midamar to ask an appeals court to dismiss the charges based on arguments that they were regulatory, not criminal, violations. A judge rejected that claim.

Midamar says it has “taken full responsibility for wrongful conduct” that occurred between 2007 and 2012.

Company founder Bill Aossey was earlier convicted as part of the scheme to export beef to Malaysia and Indonesia that didn’t meet those countries’ standards.