The Department of Justice is reporting that former quality assurance director for Kerry Inc., Ravi Chermala, has pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of causing the introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce. The charges stemmed from a June 2018, outbreak of salmonellosis that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traced to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.
Chermala, Kerry’s director of quality assurance until September 2018 oversaw the sanitation programs at various Kerry manufacturing plants, including a facility in Gridley, Ill., that manufactured Kellogg’s Honey Smacks breakfast cereal for the Kellogg Company. In pleading guilty, Chermala admitted that between June 2016 and June 2018, he directed subordinates to not report certain information to Kellogg’s about conditions at the Gridley facility. In addition, Chermala admitted that he directed subordinates at the Gridley facility to alter the plant’s program for monitoring for the presence of pathogens in the plant, limiting the facility’s ability to accurately detect insanitary conditions.