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ARTICLE ID 195272

– DOJ – FOOD CONTAMINATION – FDA – SEAFOOD COMPANY CLOSED BY INJUNCTION DUE TO UNSANITARY CONDITIONS – ALLEGED VIOLATION OF THE FOOD, DRUG, AND COSMETIC ACT (FDCA)

U.S. District Court, Central District of California

In this food contamination action, a company was accused of unsanitary practices resulting in widespread L. mono contamination. The matter was resolved via settlement.

The defendant, L.A. Star Seafood Co. Inc., of Los Angeles, California, receives, prepares, processes, packs, holds, and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured seafood – including cold-smoked mackerel and steelhead trout, as well as pickled herring and sprats. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections in ________ and ________ documented a pattern of unsanitary conditions, resulting in the presence of Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono). These conditions were alleged as the result of deviations from seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and current good manufacturing practice, such as those for the adequate cleaning of surfaces and utensils used for cutting fish. Further, the FDA states that the aforementioned violations meant the defendant’s rodcuts were therefore, "adulterated" within the meaning of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), and that defendant was told to take appropriate corrective action. However, the FDA’s February and March ________ inspections documented the defendants’ failure to have – and implement – adequate HACCP plans that control Clostridium botulinum (C. bot) and L. mono hazards.

On January 5, ________, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California at the request of the U.S. FDA, accusing the defendant of producing seafood products under conditions that did not adequately ensure their safety, violating the FDCA. The plaintiff sought permanent injunction from further violation of the law and further distribution of adulterated seafood products.The matter was resolved via consent decree, in which the defendant agreed to a permanent injunction prohibiting them from committing violations of the FDCA. The consent decree requires defendant to cease all manufacturing operations until the FDA determines that its manufacturing practices have come into compliance with the law.

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