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Update: On June 21, 2010, Judge Lance M. Africk in the Eastern District of Louisiana entered a consent decree of permanent injunction in this case. The defendants are now prohibited from processing and distributing food until they demonstrate to the FDA 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 provisions in the consent decree, retain an independent sanitation expert and destroy all in-process and finished articles of food in the facility. Under the consent decree, once the company resumes operations, the FDA may require the company to recall products, cease production, or take other corrective actions if the agency discovers future violations.

For Immediate Release: March 17, 2010
Media Inquiries: Thomas Gasparoli, 301-796-4737, thomas.gasparoli@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

The Department of Justice, in an action initiated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is seeking a permanent injunction against A Chau Sprouting Co., a sprout grower in Gretna, La., company owner and manager Quang “Mike” Trinh, and Hue Nguyen, the company production manager.

The complaint, filed on March 16, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, charges the defendants with violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by preparing, packing, and holding sprouts under insanitary conditions, where they may have become contaminated with filth.

“The agency has repeatedly warned the company over several years that corrective actions need to be taken in this facility,” said Michael Chappell, acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs at the FDA. “While no illnesses have been reported to date, this action is necessary to ensure that it remains that way.”

The ready-to-eat sprouts are distributed to wholesale suppliers, who in turn distribute them to customers located in Gulf Coast states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas.

Five FDA inspections over the past nine years, including an inspection conducted between August 2009 and September 2009, revealed that the defendants failed to implement basic food sanitation principles and practices for their sprout growing operation, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges violations that include equipment and facilities that were unclean or unable to be sufficiently cleaned, insanitary employee practices, and a poorly maintained facility.

For more information on food safety, please visit www.foodsafety.gov.






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