Injunction Sought Against N.Y. Food Processor

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked the Department of Justice to seek a permanent injunction against a New York food processing company that has repeatedly been found to operate under unsanitary conditions. Inspections over several years have uncovered deficiencies in the production of food and seafood products at NY Gourmet Salads Inc. in Brooklyn, N.Y., the FDA announced.

A complaint filed July 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York charges the company and its president, Leonard F. Spada, with violating the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, according to an August 2 FDA news release. The company introduced food into interstate commerce that was prepared, packed, or held under unsanitary conditions and that may have become contaminated or rendered injurious to health, according to the FDA.

“This request for injunction is a good example of the high priority the FDA and the administration place on food safety. We vigorously enforce the law, particularly when there are repeated violations of current good manufacturing practices and HACCP [hazard analysis and critical control points] requirements, because the agency believes prevention is the key to food safety from farm to fork,” said Ira R. Allen, a press officer in the FDA Office of Public Affairs, via e-mail. “The next step is for the company to respond, either in court or by coming into compliance with the law.”

After FDA inspections in 2006, 2007, and 2009 identified deficiencies, NY Gourmet promised to correct them, but, according to the FDA statement, an inspection in March found that the company “continued to operate without adequate controls.”

Testing this year found Listeria monocytogenes throughout the facility and in a sample of finished product, according to the FDA. The strain found in the sample was indistinguishable from a strain found in the facility in 2009, indicating that the bacteria has established a “permanent presence” in the facility, according to the FDA statement.

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