Arnold Zaler, 60, a former kosher meat business owner, has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for swindling investors. The former owner of Zaler's Kosher Meats was also ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution to his investors, many of whom were retirees who lost their savings.

Zaler's Kosher Meats has contracts with Pepsi Center and Invesco Field to operate hot dog stands, according to UPI reports. Zaler forged contracts to convince his investors he had additional large contracts with those venues. His sentence was almost double the eight years in prison recommended by prosecutors.

"He is a hard-core recidivist, and sentences of lesser time imposed on him in the past have utterly failed at preventing further crimes of fraud and deception," said U.S. District Judge John Kane at Friday's hearing. "He deserves a sentence where he is too old to offend again." Zaler's defense lawyers had argued that he was trying to keep his business going and never intended to defraud investors.

Source: UPI

U.S. Representative wants probe into risk of E. coli in school lunches

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, wants an investigation into the risk ofE. colibacteria getting into school lunches. This comes in the wake of the Fairbank Farms recall, which has been attributed to two deaths in the Northeast U.S.

Though no schools were included in the recall, Miller has asked the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to see if there are enough protections for school meals at the local, state and federal levels, ABS News reports. He also asked investigators to compare the safety and quality of ground beef in schools to those in restaurants and elsewhere.

A September report from the GAO stated that federal authorities had failed to alert schools about potentially tainted peanuts and canned vegetables, and that the USDA didn't always make sure schools and states were properly notified about recalled food that was distributed through the federal school breakfast and lunch programs.

Source: ABC News, Associated Press

USMEF denies Taiwan bone-in beef boycott

The U.S. Meat Export Federation denied reports that it was stopping the export of bone-in beef to Taiwan as a protest against the lack of a clear import policy. As theTaiwan Newsreports, initial reports of Taiwan's resumption of U.S. bone-in beef products led to a massive public outcry, which in turn led to the government announcing measure that would effectively ban the import of ground beef and offal products.

A Chinese-language newspaper had reported that the USMEF had advised its members to postpone all bone-in beef shipments indefinitely as a response, but the association stated that the news was based on an old press release, and that the two countries had reached an agreement on beef imports that had solved any problems.

Source: Taiwan News

Consumers to spend less on restaurant meals

A new study shows that U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $11.49 on restaurant meals in the next 12 months, a decrease of 20 percent compared to a March poll. The poll, done by AlixPartners LLP, noted that consumers do plan to eat out as frequently as they did in the past year. The percentage of people who eat out at least weekly rose from 52 percent in March to 63 percent.

“Folks are starting to return to the restaurant industry slightly, but they’re looking for lower prices,” Adam Werner, a director in the firm’s food service practice, said in a telephone interview. “The customer sentiment improvement hasn’t translated into the restaurant space yet.”

Source: Bloomberg