Wisconsin man sentenced to federal prison for tampering with sausages

KIEL, Wis. -- A Wisconsin man has been sentenced to federal prison for placing "foreign objects" into Johnsonville Sausage links.

The United States attorney said Jonathan Lane was sentenced Friday, Nov. 30 to 54 months (four-and-a-half years) in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for "tampering with a consumer product." He was also ordered to pay more than $42,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said on separate occasions in March of 2018, Lane, who worked as a contract employee at Johnsonville Sausage in Sheboygan County "placed foreign objects into sausage links." Video surveillance confirmed he place a cigarette paper into sausage on one occasion, and on a second occasions, he placed a copper wire in a sausage link. Prosecutors noted that "if the items had not been removed, the items would have continued on the processing line, thus affecting interstate commerce."

Lane worked in the "final phase" of the processing line, before packaging, and prosecutors said "any materials introduced had a risk of going out to the consumer."

Operations had to be shut down at the plant, and all products believed to have possibly been impacted had to be discarded.