Plea Hearing Set for Ex-Manager in Halal Food Case

A former manager at an Iowa-based halal food supplier is expected to plead guilty as part of a federal criminal investigation into the company's exporting and marketing practices.

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A former manager at an Iowa-based halal food supplier is expected to plead guilty as part of a federal criminal investigation into the company's exporting and marketing practices.

The conspiracy charges filed Thursday against 50-year-old Philip G. Payne are the latest involving the Midamar Corp. of Cedar Rapids. The founder and two directors, the company and its halal certification organization have been indicted.

Prosecutors contend that workers conspired to mislead regulators and customers about the source and nature of beef products, how cattle were slaughtered and the level of adherence to halal standards the companies promised.

Midamar denies the allegations, contending prosecutors are overreaching by trying to regulate religion.

A plea hearing for Payne is scheduled for Jan. 5. He worked as the company's operations manager from 2008 to 2012.

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