FDA NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: Nov. 27, 2013
Media Inquiries: Juli Putnam, 240-402-0537, firstname.lastname@example.org
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
Court order keeps food company from production until it cleans up
A Bakersfield, Calif., food company has agreed under terms of a court order not to process or distribute food until after it cleans up the unsanitary conditions found by U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors.
Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. of the Eastern District of California has approved a consent decree of permanent injunction against Alfred Louie, Inc., and its owners, Gordon Louie and Victor Louie, for contamination in the company’s sprouts and facility, among other violations.
Alfred Louie Inc. receives, processes, manufactures, prepares, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat mung bean and soybean sprouts and wheat flour noodles. The company also packs and/or distributes various dry, refrigerated and frozen food items, such as flour, nuts, rice, tea and spices received from other manufacturers.
FDA inspections since 2000 have documented numerous deficiencies in Alfred Louie Inc.’s processing facility. In addition, laboratory testing by the FDA in April and May 2013 revealed Listeria monocytogenes in Alfred Louie, Inc.’s sprouts and in the company’s facility. The FDA repeatedly advised Alfred Louie Inc. and its owners of the unsanitary conditions at the facility.
Listeriosis, the illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes, can be serious and sometimes can cause fatal infections in young children, frail or older people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may experience only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection in pregnant women can cause miscarriage and stillbirth.
Although no illnesses have been reported from Alfred Louie Inc.’s products, individuals who have eaten these products and experience any of the symptoms of Listeriosis should contact their healthcare professional. Consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator at http://www.fda.gov/safety/reportaproblem/consumercomplaintcoordinators/default.htm
Under the consent decree, the defendants cannot process or distribute food until they demonstrate that their facility and processing equipment are suitable to prevent contamination in the food that they process, prepare, store and handle. The defendants must, among other things, retain an independent laboratory to collect and analyze samples for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, retain an independent sanitation expert and develop a program to control Listeria monocytogenes and to eliminate unsanitary conditions at its facility. Once the company is permitted to resume operations, the FDA may still require the company to recall products or cease production if the agency discovers future violations of food safety practices.
“Companies have a responsibility to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat and is made in accordance with federal law,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “When a company continues to produce food that presents a risk for consumers, the FDA will take whatever steps necessary to protect public health.”
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The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.
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