A San Antonio wholesale meat distributor, Almacenes de Tejas, has been fined US$40,000 and sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to four misdemeanour charges of violating the Poultry Products Protection Act, according to press reports.

In 2002, Mexico banned chicken from Texas after some birds in the state were found to be infected with Newcastle disease – a strain of bird flu.

The Texas company, owned by Allen Jackson Hausman, was accused by the Department of Agriculture of falsely labelling Texas chicken, the Associated Press has reported. Hausman’s company removed the labels from 858 Texan frozen chicken carcases and replaced them with labels stamped with a federal mark of inspection for an Alabama producer. Hausman acknowledged that the counterfeit labels were produced by his wife’s printing company.

Explaining his actions, Hausman’s lawyer, Ronald Guyer, said that the chickens were fit for human consumption.