Restaurants and food retailers should stop selling and discard recent shipments of Topway Enterprises Inc. (also doing business as Kazy’s Gourmet) ready-to-eat (RTE) seafood products due to possible Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) contamination, according to FDA.
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Topway Enterprises ships RTE seafood products to restaurants and food retail outlets, primarily in the states of Texas and Louisiana. The firm has indicated restaurants and food retailers received cut tuna and salmon from July 10 to July 13, 2019.
The FDA advises restaurants and food retailers that have received Topway Enterprises RTE seafood products to clean and sanitize the surfaces that these products were served, stored, or prepared on.
Summary of Problem and Scope
FDA conducted a routine facility inspection of Topway Enterprises in February 2019. During the inspection, FDA collected 53 environmental samples, 31 of which tested positive for non-disease-causing Listeria species and provided the firm with inspectional observations (Form FDA 483), noting serious sanitation issues. The FDA informed the company of the agency’s concerns and the company promised some corrective actions.
In June 2019, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) conducted a state contract inspection as a follow-up to FDA’s February 2019 facility inspection to evaluate whether the firm had implemented the corrective actions Topway Enterprises committed to following the February 2019 inspection and to test for possible foodborne illness-causing pathogens. During the DSHS inspection, four of the environmental samples tested positive for L. monocytogenes, and state inspectors observed continuing sanitation and seafood safety compliance issues as Topway Enterprises had yet to completely implement the corrective actions the firm had agreed to in February 2019. The FDA was notified of these findings on July 3, 2019 by the state.
On July 3, 2019, the FDA and state partners notified the firm of the recent environmental sampling results. Topway Enterprises agreed to voluntarily cease operations and recall products. They also agreed to provide the FDA with any corrective action planned, prior to resuming operations. However, on July 10, 2019, the FDA became aware that Topway Enterprises resumed production at its facility, without implementing adequate corrective actions to address the risks that were identified.
On July 11, 2019, in discussions with the company owner, the FDA advised that the company cease operations until additional corrective action is performed, and no contamination can be detected at the facility. Although the firm committed to recalling RTE seafood products, including tuna and salmon for raw consumption, FDA has been unable to confirm whether consignees of the recalled food were notified of the firm’s recall and were able to take action to remove existing product from the market. As a result, FDA is publishing this Safety Alert to notify businesses who may have received product from Topway Enterprises from July 10 to July 13, 2019.
Recommendations for Food Service and Retail
According to FDA, restaurants and retailers that have received product from Topway Enterprises between July 10, 2019 and July 13, 2019 should discard the product and take appropriate action to ensure customers are not served the potentially contaminated food.
Food service operators who have handled potentially contaminated food in their facilities should:
- Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
- Wash and sanitize display cases and surfaces used to potentially store, serve, or prepare potentially contaminated foods.
- To prevent the growth of L. monocytogenes, set the refrigerator to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), and set the freezer to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius).
- Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
- Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.
Unlike most bacteria, L. monocytogenes can grow at refrigeration temperatures and freezing will not eliminate or reduce the pathogen. The FDA recommends that retailers implement time and temperature controls to reduce the opportunity for the growth of L. monocytogenes. L. monocytogenes can also cross-contaminate other food that has been cut and served on the same cutting board or stored in the same area. Retailers should check with their state for specific guidance. More information can be found in the FDA Food Code 2017.