Fairbanks Restaurant Pleads Guilty To Mislabeling Food
August 9, 2016
On August 9, 2016, The Pump House, LLC (parent company of The Pump House Restaurant) pled guilty and accepted responsibility for mislabeling menu items, claiming to serve Alaska Reindeer when it was instead serving New Zealand elk. The Pump House, LLC has agreed to pay $50,000 in criminal fines. The Pump House also agreed to split $10,532 in donations to three local non-profits in Fairbanks: Fairbanks Community Foodbank, Stone Soup Café, and the Salvation Army Fairbanks. Finally, The Pump House issued a public apology in a local newspaper for misrepresenting the sale and presentation of Alaska Reindeer to its customers over the last few years.
The State filed criminal charges against The Pump House, LLC alleging that since 2013 The Pump House Restaurant violated food labeling requirements. Investigation revealed that The Pump House Restaurant advertised on the internet and on its in-house menu that it served “Reindeer Tenderloin.” An interview with an employee of the restaurant confirmed that during his employ the restaurant had never served reindeer. The restaurant manager also confirmed the restaurant had deceptively served elk in lieu of Alaska Reindeer. The menu advertised “Reindeer Tenderloin” and described “Alaskan Reindeer [as] similar to caribou and raised in Western Alaska where they are harvested by the Native people.” The menu has since been corrected.
Proper labeling of food, along with compliance of Alaska’s Food Safety laws, is necessary to ensure that food establishments are maintaining sanitary facilities for its patrons and are not gaining an unfair economic advantage over other food establishments.
The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Crimes Unit (ECU) is tasked with conducting statewide investigations of criminal violations of Alaska statutes and regulations for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. For information about the ECU, or to report an environmental crime the public may contact the ECU by phone, via email, or on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website.
CONTACT: Assistant Attorney General Carole Holley at 907.269.6250.
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