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FDA Finds Violations at Asian Importer

Seoul Trading USA, Co. is the new name for the 27-year old company formerly known as Seoul Shik Poom, Inc.

It distributes 2,000 products from Korea, China and Southeast Asia to supermarkets, multicultural stores, and restaurants from a network of warehouses in California, Washington State, British Columbia, Virginia, Georgia, and New Jersey.

And during a June 2 to 19, 2009 inspection of Seoul Trading’s 170,000 square foot facility in Englewood, NJ, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) found the seafood importer’s warehouse and repackaging operation had serious violations.

In an Oct. 29, 2009 “Warning Letter” issued to Seoul Shik Poom Inc., Seoul Trading’s former name, FDA said the serious violations involved the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation, Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 123 (21 CFR Part 123).

“The specific requirements for imported fish and fishery products are set out in 21 CFR 123.12.” FDA’s New Jersey District Director Diana Amador-Toro wrote Joon Kab Kwon, Seoul Trading’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“In accordance with 21 CFR 123.12 (d), there must be evidence that all fish and fishery products offered for entry into the United States have been processed under conditions that comply with 21 CFR Part 123,” she continued.  “If assurances do not exist that an imported fish or fishery products has been processed under conditions that are equivalent to those required of domestic processors under 21 CFR Part 123, the fish or fishery product will appear to be adulterated under Section 402(a)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) …and will be denied entry.”

FDA found the company’s frozen salted and gutted mackerel and salted and fermented wild anchovy to be adulterated under the Act.

Significant seafood processing violations found included the fact that no specifications existed for either the mackerel nor anchovies; and the failure to ensure that both were processed under seafood HACCP regulations.

In its distribution and repacking area, FDA found numerous significant violations.  Among those cited were:

  • Apricots misbranded because sulfites were not declared.
  • Dried slices of Radish misbranded because they lacked an ingredient statement in English.
  • Green whole peas misbranded because they did not disclose the amount of trans fat.
  • Green whole peas and pecan products misbranded for not listing current address of the company.
  • Fresh tuna misbranded because it is thermal processed.
  • Fresh tuna misbranded for not disclosing major food allergens.
  • Fresh tuna misbranded for not listing a complete list of ingredients.

FDA gives companies 15 working days to respond to “Warning Letters” and asks for specifics on how violations are going to be corrected.   Seoul Trading could not be reached for comment.

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