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John's Butcher Shoppee Accused of Labeling Organ Meat "Ground Beef"

Categories: Food, News
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A curious suit over questionable meat.
At a news conference today in St. Louis, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced that he's filed a civil suit against a meat processor with stores in Overland and Festus on claims that the company mislabeled some of its products.

According to the attorney general's office, sixteen separate tests by the USDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture confirmed that products labeled as "ground beef" and "sausage" at John's Butcher Shoppee contained heart muscle. In some tests, heart muscle was the primary ingredient, according to the AG. The state's top prosecutor also claims that tests revealed soy in the sausage.

The suit names the owners of John's Butcher Shoppee, brothers Michael and Thomas Kolish, as defendants. This afternoon Daily RFT put in a call to the store's Overland location on Walton Road. Judy Kolish, the men's mother, answered the phone. She says the family company -- in its 38th year in business -- has been blindsided by the accusations.

"We got notice just yesterday," says Kolish. "It's unreal. We pride ourselves on our quality."

Kolish says the phone has been ringing off the hook today with calls from reporters. Meanwhile, the brothers are in Hillsboro, where the suit was filed in circuit court. Judy Kolish says she doesn't know what could have prompted the lawsuit but notes that the business recently had a disgruntled employee.

Daily RFT has a call out to the attorney general's office for more information about what may have prompted its investigation and lawsuit.


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9 comments
Pat Kirchner
Pat Kirchner

My daughter and son-in-law recently bought 50 lbs. of ground beef at John's Butcher Shoppe in Festus, MO.  My daughter thought it tasted different and has been complaining to her husband that it tastes like liver, not like pure ground beef.  Now we know why it has a peculiar taste. Now they just need to contact the authorities about their bad meat. 

Douche_McGee
Douche_McGee

I'm glad I saw this shop on the news last night - one of the signs in their window was for stuffed bratwurst and I've been looking for a shop selling them.

Pious Pete
Pious Pete

McDonald's can't legally market hamburger as such without informing the customer it contains organs, and neither can anyone else.  Little research will show you that McDonald's is regulated by the FDA and tested annually for public safety and quality.  They still cut corners by using old dairy cows instead of cows specifically bred for muscle tissue, but they don't use organs.  And in a sense, this IS a public health issue because organs are much higher in cholesterol than muscle, not to mention many people were unknowingly taken advantage of by what they thought was a small, friendly family business.  They obviously cut ground meat with cheaper organs to turn a profit (how else would they be able to afford a new yacht while thousands of honest people have been out of work for over a year?). I don't think a lot of their past customers will be pleased.

Mike N.
Mike N.

I wasn't aware this story might have a political angle -- interesting.  But, I agree the above; it's a simple labeling issue, not a health one.  Shop-n-Save sells something called "hamberger mix" or something like that which is a bit cheaper than 100% ground beef.  But it clearly has the ingredients on the label, including beef heart.  In fact, there's a popular meat stick snack (can't rember which one) that includes beef heart in the ingredients.

James Durbin
James Durbin

This is all Koster trying to get re-elected.  It's power hungry jerks like this that put small family-owned businesses out.  It's a real shame that John's is having to go through this.  They have been in business for almost 40 years now and have had nothing but a pristine reputation for their quality and service.  I will continue to shop there and I urge others to do the same.  Don't get swept up in this political crap.

Bob Kol
Bob Kol

I love John's Butcher Shoppee and I have never had any problem with their meat. I know John's has the freshest meat and ground beef because you can see them cut it right in front of you. Every other store also makes their ground beef with Beef heart their only issue is they did not label it. I will still shop at this family owned store.  This story is blown out of proportion

Jennifer Ramsey
Jennifer Ramsey

The most important part of this article is that there is no "danger to public safety." Thus, the article clearly states that this is not an issue of what is in the product, but just a labeling issue. What do you think is in your McDonald's hamburger meat? It might seem gross that their are hearts in the ground beef, but I know for a fact that this ground beef makes for delicious hamburgers, regardless of their make-up! Let's also keep in mind that this is a family-owned business that is dependent upon their loyal customers. I have been a loyal customer of John's for 20 years and will continue to be so!

Melissa Meinzer
Melissa Meinzer

One has to ask--well, if one is a curmudgeonly vegetarian, anyway--why the heck it matters? If you're eating ground-up cow parts, what difference does it really make which particular cow parts they are?

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