Public Health Service Food and Drug Administration
New York District
158-15 Liberty Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11433
May 13, 2014
WARNING LETTER NYK-2014-34
Mr. Joseph Varkey, President
Maharaja Foods Importers Inc.
4929 Metropolitan Ave
Ridgewood, NY 11385-1050
Dear Mr. Varkey:
We inspected your seafood importer establishment, located at 4929 Metropolitan Avenue on April 11 through April 15, 2014. We found that you have serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation, Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 123 (21 CFR Part 123). The specific requirements for imported fish and fishery products are set out in 21 CFR 123.12. As an importer of fish or fishery products, you must operate in accordance with the requirements of Part 123. In accordance with 21 CFR 123.12(d), there must be evidence that all fish and fishery products offered for entry into the United States have been processed under conditions that comply with 21 CFR Part 123. If assurances do not exist that the imported fish or fishery product has been processed under conditions that are equivalent to those required of domestic processors under 21 CFR Part 123, the fish or fishery products will appear to be adulterated under Section 402(a)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), 21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(4) and will be denied entry. Because our inspection identified serious violations for 21 CFR Part 123, your glass-packed pickled tuna in oil marketed as shelf stable are adulterated under Section 402(a)(4)of the Act (21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(4)), in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby theymay have been rendered injurious to health. You may find the Act, the seafood HACCP regulation and the Fish and Fisheries Products Hazards & Controls Guidance through links in FDA's home page at www.fda.gov.
Your significant violation was as follows:
You must implement an affirmative step which ensures that the fish and fishery product(s) you import are processed in accordance with the seafood HACCP Regulation, to comply with 21 CFR123.12(a)(2)(ii). However, your firm did not perform an affirmative step for glass-packed pickled tuna in oil marketed as shelf stable manufactured by (b)(4)., located in (b)(4).
In addition, on (b)(4), FDA collected a sample of glass-packed pickled tuna in oil marketed as shelf stable, manufactured by (b)(4), in (b)(4) that you offered for import under entry number (b)(4). FDA analysis found that the glass-packed pickled tuna is an acidified food and as such is subject to 21 CFR Parts 108 and 114. However, the foreign manufacturer failed to register and file a schedule process for the glass-packed pickled tuna in oil marketed as shelf stable, as required by 21 CFR 108.25 . Therefore, your glass-packed pickled tuna in oil marketed as shelf stable, entry number (b)(4), were adulterated within the meaning of section 402(a)(4) of the Act (21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(4) and the entry was refused admission on (b)(4).
We may take further action if you do not promptly correct these violations. For instance, we may take further action to refuse admission of your imported fish or fishery products under Section 801(a) of the Act (21 U.S.C. § 381(a)), including placing them on "detention without physical examination," seize your product(s) and/or enjoin your firm from further violating the Act.
You should respond in writing within fifteen (15) working days from your receipt of this letter. Your response should outline the specific things you are doing to correct these violations. You should include in your response documentation, such as HACCP and importer verification records and records that document the performance and results of your firm’s affirmative steps, or other useful information that would assist us in evaluating your corrections. If you cannot complete all corrections before you respond, you should explain the reason for your delay and state when you will correct any remaining violations.
Section 743 of the Act (21 U.S.C. § 379j-31) authorizes FDA to assess and collect fees to cover FDA’s costs for certain activities, including re-inspection-related costs. A re-inspection is one or more inspections conducted subsequent to an inspection that identified noncompliance materially related to a food safety requirement of the Act, specifically to determine whether compliance has been achieved. Re-inspection-related costs means all expenses, including administrative expenses, incurred in connection with FDA’s arranging, conducting, and evaluating the results of the re-inspection and assessing and collecting the re-inspection fees (21 U.S.C. § 379j-31(a)(2)(B)). FDA will assess and collect fees for re-inspection-related costs from the responsible party for the domestic facility. The inspection noted in this letter identified noncompliance materially related to a food safety requirement of the Act. Accordingly, FDA may assess fees to cover any re-inspection-related costs.
Please send your reply to the Food and Drug Administration, 158-15 Liberty Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11433, Attention: Kristen C. Jackson. If you have questions regarding any issues in this letter, please contact Kristen Jackson at 718-662-5711.