Nolechek’s Meats v. USDA and FSIS - Liberty Justice Center

Nolechek’s Meats v. USDA and FSIS

In yet another example of what is becoming a familiar tactic, the Biden Administration is using a food inspection agency to implement its partisan public health agenda. But with the help of the Liberty Justice Center, a small, family-run business in Wisconsin is fighting back. Nolechek’s Meats is a gourmet meat shop in Thorp, Wisconsin (population 1,598) that has been crafting small-batches of award winning bacon, ham, and sausages for four generations.

Since the early 1970s, the Nolechek family has been crafting high-quality meat products that are enjoyed in their community and shipped throughout the country. In 2017, Nolechek’s Meats secured the right to receive inspection from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which meant that it could begin selling its products commercially out of state. Since then, the small-town meat shop has expanded its out-of-state wholesale operations into a significant component of its business.

But decades of the family’s hard work and success was all jeopardized in August 2021 when FSIS announced Notice 34-21, without any rulemaking process or ability for affected parties to comment. The notice ordered all FSIS-inspected establishments to force their employees to wear masks when FSIS personnel are present. Furthermore, the notice indicated that if an establishment refused to comply, FSIS would withhold the “USDA Mark of Inspection” allowing its products to be sold commercially out of state.

Out of respect for their employees’ discretion to make their own health choices and because they believed that FSIS did not have authority to impose a mask mandate, Nolechek’s Meats’ owners, Kelly Nolechek and Lindsey Fox, declined to comply with the notice. FSIS immediately revoked their Mark of Inspection and denied their subsequent appeals.

In response, Nolechek’s Meats’ owners took to social media to publicize their story and pleading for help. Their efforts resulted in tens of thousands of likes, shares, and views, and the Liberty Justice Center is now representing Nolechek’s Meats in a lawsuit against the United State Department of Agriculture and FSIS on grounds that Notice 34-21 violates established constitutional and administrative law.

The Liberty Justice Center aims to overturn this illegal and intrusive Biden Administration overreach and restore the liberties of the owners and employees of Nolechek’s Meats and other small businesses across the country.

Lead Attorney

Daniel Suhr

Managing Attorney

Buck Dougherty

Senior Attorney

To schedule an interview, please contact [email protected]


The lawsuit, Nolechek’s Meats, Inc. v. USDA, was filed December 2, 2021 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.


Press Release 12/02/2021

Complaint 12/02/2021

Exhibits 12/02/2021

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