First seizure of food under new food safety law

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Safety modernization act Food safety modernization Food safety Food Food and drug administration

Officials have seized food products for the first time under the provision of the Food Safety Modernization Act, after they found “widespread and active rodent and insect infestation” at a Dominguez Foods facility in Washington State.

Before the Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law in January this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not have the authority to mandate food product recalls. Under the new law, the FDA may order the detention of food found during an inspection if investigators have reason to believe that it is adulterated or misbranded.

The FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs Dara Corrigan said in a statement: “FDA will not hesitate to take immediate steps to protect the public’s health. We will aggressively use our enforcement tools to prevent adulterated food from reaching the public.”

During their September 2 inspection of the Dominguez Foods processing plant, FDA inspectors reported rodent droppings and urine stains on and around food products, a rodent nesting site, a dead rodent in the warehouse, rodent-gnawed food containers, and live and dead insects in, on, and around food products. They immediately issued a detention order covering all food at the plant that was not in sealed containers, giving the FDA 30 days to take appropriate action.

A federal court issued a warrant of arrest for the products on September 29 – the same day that a complaint was filed calling for the warrant due to the conditions at the plant. The products were seized from the Zillah, WA facility at the request of the FDA on September 30.

The products seized were spices and condiments, but the FDA did not release information on the quantity or value of the seized products.

For comparison, before the agency had the authority to seize potentially adulterated products, it took FDA officials 18 days to serve an inspection warrant on a New Jersey snack manufacturer after it refused to recall products containing peanuts supplied by the Peanut Corporation of America – the company behind the massive recall of salmonella-tainted peanut products in 2009.

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1 comment

Eat This, Not That

Posted by Lydia Freund,

We love it when the FDA follows their mandate of keeping foods clean and safe. We hate it when the FDA goes rabid, and attacks clean raw milk producers. Do your science homework, FDA: know what's safe and what's not. Eat This, Not That!

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