Feds go after repeat offender food processor

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Listeria monocytogenes, Food and drug administration

US federal authorities are seeking a permanent injunction against a New York food processor for a host of violations over a four-year period.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched the action against NY Gourmet Salads, Inc and company president Leonard F. Spada. The firm processes ready-to-eat deli salads, seafood salads, and cream cheeses in Brooklyn, NY.

The company is accused of violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by selling food produced in unsanitary conditions that “may have become contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to health”.

The FDA found the company had flouted regulations after each of their inspections in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Despite promises from NY Gourmet to tackle the breaches, the latest evaluation in March 2010 continued to operate outside safety regulations.

Listeria monocytogenes

Recent testing also revealed that Listeria monocytogenes (L.mono) was present throughout the defendants' facility and in a sample of finished product. The strain of L. mono found in a sample of the defendants' chickpea salad in 2010 was indistinguishable from the strain of L. mono found in the defendants' facility during a 2009 inspection, indicating that the bug had likely formed a lasting presence in the plant, said the FDA statement.

“The continued presence of L. mono in a food processing facility is a particularly significant public health risk,”​ said Michael A. Chappell, acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.

The FDA complaint concluded: “Based on their longstanding pattern of conduct, defendants, unless restrained by order of this court, will continue to manufacture and distribute articles of food in violation” of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

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