FDA News Release
Federal court orders Alabama seafood company to cease production due to food safety violations
- For Immediate Release:
On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama entered a consent decree of permanent injunction between the United States and BEK Catering LLC. The business, owned by Billy B. Stembridge, Jr. and Kyle D. Huxen, operates as Floppers Foods selling ready-to-eat seafood products and is based in Daphne, Alabama.
The consent decree was sought after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration documented serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and of Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for foods. The consent decree prohibits BEK Catering, LLC, from receiving, processing, manufacturing, preparing, packing, holding or distributing food until it comes into compliance with FDA requirements.
The FDA conducted multiple inspections between September 2011 and April 2015. FDA investigators observed repeated deviations from HACCP requirements. The seafood HACCP regulations are intended to ensure the safety of fish and fishery products, and they prescribe a set of requirements that must be followed by seafood processors. Under these regulations, processors must conduct, or have conducted for them, hazard analyses to identify any food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur during processing of each type of seafood.
“When a company fails to provide an adequate plan for preventing food safety hazards from occurring in their facility, they are putting the public at risk,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “It is the job of the FDA to oversee that seafood businesses have adequate controls in place for the products they produce. When adequate preventive controls are not in place, we must take action to prevent potentially harmful food from entering the food supply.”
The company will not be permitted to operate until they are compliant with federal food regulations. As part of the consent decree, the owners represented that they are no longer processing fish and fishery products. In order to resume seafood processing operations, BEK Catering LLC must notify FDA in writing 90 days in advance, comply with remedial measures specified in the decree and be subject to FDA inspection, along with other requirements. Some of those requirements include hiring an independent HACCP expert who is qualified to determine whether the company’s methods, processes and controls comply with regulations, conducting an employee training program and notifying the FDA in writing of its HACCP plans. The company must also destroy, under FDA supervision, all seafood products in their custody.
The U.S. Department of Justice brought the action on behalf of the FDA.
No illnesses have been reported in connection with BEK Catering LLC. Consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.
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.
- Fallon Smith