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U.S. distributor goes to court over banana no-show

Long Island-based fruit company Esposito Brothers has launched a lawsuit over an alleged failure to deliver a large shipment of bananas in mid-2013, the New York Post reported.

The publication reported 21,000 boxes of Ecuadorian-sourced Bonita bananas Esposito ordered from Fruit Importers Americas Inc. did not arrive in July that year.

The story reported the lawsuit was against “Ecuador’s biggest fruit conglomerate”, but Esposito declined to comment on the case or provide clarification as to the details.

The suit seeks at least US$ 27 million in damages, the story reported.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com

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CA Court Decision Will Place BPA Back on Harmful Chemicals List

A California court recently upheld findings that the plastic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is known to cause reproductive health problems.

In 2013, the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that it intended to add BPA to California’s Proposition 65 list of harmful chemicals and require companies to warn consumers when their products can expose them to BPA, but the American Chemistry Council (ACC) petitioned the court to prevent this.

BPA is a chemical used to make a variety of plastics, including food storage containers and bottles, eyeglass lenses, medical products and sports safety equipment. The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through diet, and the highest estimated daily intake of BPA occurs in infants and children.

The National Toxicology Program Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (NTP) has stated that there is “some concern” about the effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate glad in fetuses, infants and children at current exposures and “minimal concern” about effects on the mammary gland.

OEHHA decided to list BPA based on NTP’s conclusions that there is clear evidence of adverse developmental effects in laboratory animals at high levels of exposure to BPA.

In addition to preventing the listing, ACC also sought a judicial declaration that the proposed listing “is an abuse of discretion.”

The ruling, signed Dec. 18 by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley, stated that OEHHA “did not abuse its discretion in finding that NTP formally identified BPA as ‘causing reproductive toxicity’ within the meaning of the California definition” and will reinstate the decision to list BPA under the state’s Prop 65 consumer protection law.

The court also denied ACC’s request for a stay pending appeal.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Court Orders LA Fish Processor Closed Until It Complies With FDA Regs

Until it can safely produce food as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Neptune Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles has been ordered to stop processing and distributing its smoked and pickled seafood products.

According to a Dec. 4 news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero signed a consent decree of permanent injunction Dec. 1 against Neptune and its owners, Alexander Goldring, Peter Oyrekh and Semyon Krutovsky.

The decree orders the company and its owners to stop processing and distributing smoked and pickled seafood products until they have taken specific steps to bring their operation into compliance with federal law.

Neptune prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured (pickled) fish and fishery products, including pickled herring, smoked steelhead trout, smoked turbot/halibut, smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. The company sells its ready-to-eat products wholesale to customers located in southern California and Las Vegas.

FDA stated that its inspectors had made seven visits to the company’s LA facility since 2006, and, each time they found similar unsanitary conditions. (The language in the law refers to unsanitary conditions as “insanitary.”) FDA investigators found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility on four occasions and failure to control for Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation on at least three occasions, the agency stated.

Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable groups such as newborns, elderly adults and those with impaired immune systems. Clostridium bacterium can grow in seafood products and causes botulism, which is rare but can cause paralysis and death without prompt treatment.

“When a company and its owners repeatedly violate the same food safety procedures, their failure to improve their processes and clean up their facility endangers the public,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take necessary action to protect the food supply from adulteration.”

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with Neptune Manufacturing products, FDA stated. The agency added that consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.

Among other requirements, the decree states that Neptune may not continue to receive, prepare, process, pack, label, hold or distribute food items until the company retains an independent lab qualified to test for the presence of Listeria in product and environmental samples, conducts hazard analyses to develop adequate HACCP plans, develops adequate plans to control Clostridium for all fish and fishery products, and ensures that all fish five inches long or more are eviscerated before being salted or submerged in a salt solution.

All the stated requirements must meet with FDA approval and be monitored by the agency for compliance, according to the decree. It also orders fines for each day that any violations of the law continue.

Food Safety News

Petition: Wisconsin Supreme Court Should Rule on Raw-Milk ‘Right’

Anyone may purchase a cow and drink its raw milk, but do the people of Wisconsin have a “right to purchase and drink raw milk”?

That’s what the losers in a recent Wisconsin Appeals Court case want to know, and they’ve petitioned the state Supreme Court to see if they can get their question answered.

It’s the latest scheme by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to carve out some “rights” around food and thereby advance the food freedom movement. In their world, raw milk is one of pillars of that campaign.

Wisconsin prohibits the retail sale of raw milk because, until it’s pasteurized, milk may contain potentially harmful bacteria such as Campylobacter and E. coli O157:H7. But about 1 percent of all consumers think pasteurization also kills beneficial bacteria found in raw milk, and they believe there are health benefits derived from drinking it.

The case the Wisconsin Supreme Court is being asked to review was a two-for-one loss for raw-milk advocates because it was the result of two consolidated cases.

The decision being appealed to the high court resulted from the consolidation of two cases involving Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund plaintiffs. The combination of issues, however, did not result in the court offering any opinion on whether there is a right to purchase and drink unpasteurized milk in Wisconsin.

For the part of the case known for the “Zinniker plaintiffs,” the appeals court’s Aug. 7 decision upheld state agriculture’s revocation of the license of a Walworth County raw-milk dairy that was involved in a 2009 outbreak. The dairy then attempted to get around the license requirement with a limited liability corporation called “Nourished by Nature.”

State regulators  called that arrangement a “sham,” and Farm-to-Consumer filed the lawsuit. The 4th District Appeals Court decision agreed with the trial court, finding that the distribution of raw milk without a state producer’s license is a crime.

“Even assuming that the members of Nourished by Nature have a right to consume unpasteurized milk, the Zinnikers do not have a legal right to operate a dairy farm as milk producers without a license,” the appeals court ruling stated.

In the part of the decision involving the “GrassWay plaintiffs,” both the facts and the outcome were similar. An organic farm store wanted to sell raw milk to members of an association who paid a fee to the store, but, under a producer’s license, the department said the store was not allowed to sell or distribute the product.

Food Safety News

Prosecution: Court Needs More Testimony Before Sentencing the DeCosters

Pre-sentencing investigative reports (PSIRs) for America’s one-time king of egg production, Austin (Jack) DeCoster, his son Peter, and their Quality Egg LLC business, have turned into a legal mess.

While the PSIRs themselves are sealed, the public now knows a little more about details of the disputed information from a new motion that’s been filed with a potential solution for working through the controversy.

Jack (left) and Peter DeCoster

Jack DeCoster was one of the most dominant figures in U.S. egg production before a 2010 Salmonella outbreak, which sickened thousands of people, was linked to two of his large Iowa egg production facilities.

It resulted in more than a half-billion eggs being recalled, the largest market withdrawal involving shell eggs in history. Peter DeCoster ran the northern Iowa egg farms. The two men pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count each of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.

In addition, their corporate entity, Quality Egg, pleaded guilty to one felony count of bribery of a public official and to two misdemeanors — one count of introducing misbranded food and one count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.

A federal judge in Sioux City, IA, accepted those pleas last June 3, but the dispute over the PSIRs is turning out to be more than a legal speed bump. The assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, Peter E. Deegan, wants to consolidate the sentencing proceedings for a possible weeklong evidentiary hearing. Separate sentencing hearings would then follow.

According to Deegan, defense attorneys are split over his plan. He says that Stuart J. Dornan, the Omaha, NE-based defense attorney for Peter DeCoster, “has no objection to the relief sought in this motion.” However, Thomas C. Green, the Washington, D.C.-based defense attorney for Jack DeCoster and Quality Egg does “object to the relief sought ….”

Under the plea agreement they have with the government, the DeCosters were to each pay a $ 100,000 fine for their misdemeanor pleas, and Quality Egg agreed to a $ 6.8-million fine. Sentencing is mostly about whether either man will serve any jail time.

In late August, first the government filed objections to the PSIRs. Then Green filed objections for Jack DeCoster and Quality Egg. The most recent objections were filed Sept. 18 on behalf of Peter DeCoster.

Government and defense attorneys have agreed that sentencing guideline calculations will have to be approved by the court. The defense apparently finds much of the “offense conduct” section of the pre-sentence investigative reports to be either irrelevant or “not otherwise supported by the evidence.”

In his pitch to the court, Deegan says that the “greatest difference of any significance” among the parties concerns the write-ups about how “Julian dates” were changed and then the misbranded eggs were sold into commerce.

“Despite this difference in the Draft PSIRs, the government submits that the fact Quality Egg sold old eggs is relevant to the circumstances surrounding the Salmonella Enteritis contamination at issue with regard to Count 3, and therefore all three sentencings,” Deegan wrote.

The assistant U.S. attorney argues that since disputed facts among the three defendants are consistent, one hearing would be the most efficient for the court and prevent witnesses from having to testify three times.

“A consolidated evidentiary hearing would not appear to cause prejudice to any defendant or other interested party,” Deegan added. “To the extent defendants Quality Egg and Jack DeCoster are concerned that certain evidence may prove to be irrelevant to one sentencing or the other, the Court would be able to make such a determination after a consolidated hearing.”

Deegan said it might even be more appropriate for the court to make such determinations after hearing the evidence.

Food Safety News

Vermont Asks Court to Dismiss Industry Challenge to GMO Labeling Law

Vermont’s attorney general has asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont to dismiss a lawsuit by a group of food manufacturer trade associations to overturn Vermont’s law requiring labels on genetically modified food beginning in July 2016.

“The State’s motion makes the case that Vermont’s labeling law withstands all five challenges to its constitutionality made by Plaintiffs and that the Court should dismiss the suit without requiring the State to answer the Complaint or engage in further litigation,” William H. Sorrell wrote in documents submitted to the court on Friday.

“While the Plaintiffs prefer not to disclose that their products are made with genetic engineering, over 90 percent of the general public supports labeling genetically engineered foods,” he added.

Right after the Vermont Legislature passed the bill in May requiring labels on food products containing genetically modified ingredients, the state was sued by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Lawmakers had anticipated such a legal challenge and included a $ 1.5-million legal defense fund in the bill to help cover the anticipated expense.

Sorrell’s motion also argues that the Vermont law, as opposed to industry claims, serves legitimate state interests and is not vague, and that labeling GE foods and not allowing them to be described as “natural” is appropriate under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The food industry groups have 30 days to respond to Sorrell’s motion to dismiss, and the state will then have a chance to reply before the court makes a decision. Sorrell also asked for oral arguments on the motion, so no action is expected for several months.

Food Safety News