CRIME

Southwestern Illinois man accused of inserting sewing needles into supermarket's packaged meat

Federal prosecutors are accusing an Illinois man of inserting sewing needles into packaged ground beef for more than a year at a supermarket in his hometown.

Sixty-eight-year-old Ronald Avers of Belleville was charged Wednesday with seven felony counts of tampering with consumer products.

The FBI alleges in court filings that a Shop 'n Save grocery store reported on July 9 at least seven cases since May of last year in which sewing needles were found in packaged meat products.

The criminal complaint alleges one customer found a needle in her mouth while eating and another reported being stuck in the hand. Other customers said they found needles in the meat they bought but were not injured.

A message left with Avers' federal public defender wasn't returned.

Avers remained jailed Thursday.