FDA seeks injunction against Tennessee ingredient firms

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking a permanent injunction against two Tennessee food ingredients firms and their owner, claiming that food from their facilities may have been contaminated.

The Justice Department filed the complaint in the US District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, claiming that two Memphis-based companies, American Mercantile Corp. and Ingredients Corporation of America, and their owner Damon S. Arney, have prepared, packed and held food and food ingredients under unsanitary conditions. The companies produce and process a range of food ingredients for manufacturers including spices, herbs, sweeteners and sauces.

Associate commissioner for regulatory affairs at the FDA Dara Corrigan said in a statement: “The FDA continues to take strong enforcement actions against companies like this one that have a history of violations. The actions we are taking are necessary to assure consumers that foods they buy are prepared, packaged, and held under sanitary conditions where they will not become contaminated with filth.”

The FDA said it conducted an inspection of American Mercantile Corp. in October 2010, and of Ingredients Corporation of America in November 2010, and found “widespread insect and rodent activity, a failure to store raw materials in a manner that protects against contamination, and a poorly maintained facility”.​ The complaint also alleges that corrective measures have not been implemented despite prior warnings and a seizure of food from American Mercantile in May 2009.

No one at American Mercantile Corp. was available for comment prior to publication and Ingredients Corporation of America refused to comment.

However, a statement on American Mercantile’s website says that an inspection was carried out at its facility in January 2010, which found the overall food safety level to be ‘excellent’, as specified by the AIB International Consolidated Standards for Inspection of Prerequisite and Food Safety Programs.

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