The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) routinely inspects companies to make sure that they are adhering to food safety standards. When companies do not, the FDA can send a warning letter giving the company time to respond. If food safety violations are not resolved, the FDA can then take further enforcement actions. Their goal is to prevent foodborne illness and ensure that food products are safe for consumers.
When the FDA sends a company a notice about food safety violations, the company has 15 days to respond. The public, however, may not be aware of the violations until weeks or months later. Also, the company may have had months or years of opportunities to resolve violations prior. This is a cause for concern as the FDA may know that violations exist, but companies continue producing food products without correction.
Six Companies Receive FDA Notice for Food Safety Violations
Recently, the FDA has put six companies on notice due to food safety violations. Here is an overview of the companies and the violations that led to the FDA notice.
Martinez Mexican Produce – Hidalgo, Texas
Martinez Mexican Produce is an import company located in Hidalgo, Texas. In June 2020, the FDA sent Martinez a warning letter in reference to a Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) inspection done in March 2020.
In the warning letter, the FDA notes that Martinez was not in compliance with FSVP regulations. The company did not develop an FSVP for imported foods:
- Shredded coconut
If the company does not correct these violations, they may be subject to the FDA halting foreign imports.
Fides NY, Inc. – Bayside, New York
Fides NY is an import company based in Bayside, New York. In July 2020, the FDA sent a warning letter to Fides in regards to a Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) inspection done in May 2020. The FDA inspection shows that Fides was not in compliance with FSVP regulations. The company did not have an FSVP for imported foods:
- Namja Ramen
- Aloe Drink
- Frozen Yogurt Drink Green Apple Flavor
The FDA warning letter states that they must correct the violations, or the FDA will take additional action. The FDA warns that they may refuse admission of these imports.
Grupo RM USA, Inc. – Miami, Florida
Grupo RM USA, Inc. is on notice from the FDA due to several imported items not being compliant with the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). In April and May 2020, FDA inspections revealed violations. In August 2020, the agency sent a warning letter about the violations related to:
- Tropical Banana Soft Drink
- Toasted Crackers
- Milk Candy
The FDA warns that the serious violations mean that the company is not in compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). Failure to correct the violations could result in the FDA refusing these imports or detaining them.
La Sonorense, Inc. – Phoenix, Arizona
La Sonorense, Inc. is a ready-to-eat food manufacturer in Phoenix, Arizona. The company is on notice with the FDA for several violations. According to a March 2020 inspection, the company is in serious violation of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation (CGMP & PC rule). Also, food manufactured by La Sonorense was found to be adulterated in violation of the FD&C Act.
The warning letter says that the company did not conduct any hazard analyses for products manufactured there. The company did not identify or evaluate products or ingredients for the presence of bacterial pathogens like E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes or Salmonella. The FDA notice says that food,
“was prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health.”
Grand Strand Sandwich Company, Inc. – Longs, South Carolina
South Carolina-based Grand Strand Sandwich Company is on notice from the FDA for Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis (CGMP) and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (PC) violations. In February 2020, the ready-to-eat manufacturing facility was inspected by the FDA. Inspectors found serious violations, including Listeria monocytogenes on four swabs collected from areas adjacent to food contact surfaces.
This is not the first time that Listeria has been found during an FDA inspection at the facility. The FDA report shows the following:
- 2018 – 17 swabs collected from areas adjacent to food contact surfaces tested positive for Listeria.
- 2017 – Five swabs collected from areas adjacent to food contact surfaces tested positive for Listeria.
All of the swabs come from the same strain of Listeria. The FDA notes that the strain is capable of causing human illness. The findings of these swabs indicates that the facility is not being properly sanitized.
Chicago Indoor Garden, Inc. – Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Indoor Garden, Inc. is on notice with the FDA for Produce Safety violations. In July 2020, the FDA sent a warning letter to the company in regards to an inspection in February and March 2020. During the inspection, inspectors noted serious violations of the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption. The notice lists the following violations:
- coli found on 10 swabs and on fresh red clover sprouts.
- The company did not discontinue use of seed that they “knew or had reason to believe” were contaminated.
- The company did not maintain a clean and sanitary environment, including equipment and tools.
The FDA says they are unable to verify the adequacy of the company’s response to their warning letter, and are threatening additional action if the company does not correct the violations.
Food Safety Concerns for Consumers
Food safety is a huge concern for consumers. Right now, the U .S. is contending with a variety of serious recalls due to pathogens. The most serious and widespread recalls include:
These recalls are causing outbreaks of illness like Salmonella and Listeria.
Have Questions about Food Safety?
If you have food safety concerns or have developed a foodborne illness due to a contaminated product, contact Bad Food Recall to learn more. Call us at 1-877-534-5750. You can also email us via our online contact form.