A former worker at Johnsonville Sausage has been accused in federal court of placing "foreign objects" into sausage links.
The U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced this week that Jonathan T. Lane, of Kiel, was arrested and charged with tampering with a consumer product and acting with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily harm.
Prosecutors said surveillance video showed Lane placing objects into the sausages on two occasions in late March. A company spokeswoman confirmed to WITI that the food-tampering incidents happened on its Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, campus.
On March 25, Lane allegedly placed cigarette paper in a sausage link, and again on March 28, Lane was seen putting a wire connector in a sausage link while the items were on a processing line.
The items were removed from the sausage links both times before the food was packaged.
Because of the "public risk of Lane's behavior," the news release said, the sausage company shut down the operation and discarded all food products it believed could have been affected.
A company representative told prosecutors none of the tampered food items left the facilities.
"We commend Johnsonville Sausage, LLC for its security measures and quick action to prevent any harm to consumers," U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger said in a statement.
If convicted, Lane faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release.
Lane's attorney did not return a request for comment on the case when contacted by The Associated Press.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Office of Inspector General.