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Warning Letters for HACCP and Branding

San Simeon Inc. in Albuquerque and Chuck’s Seafoods Inc. in Charleston, OR are the latest seafood processors to run into trouble with the Food and Drug Administration over the Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulations.

Both received December “Warning Letters” from FDA, as did Bridgeport, PA-based Awesome Foods Inc., which apparently has some real “branding” issues.

By not having a correct HACCP plan to implement, San Simeon learned its fishery products were adulterated under federal laws and regulations.

“Accordingly, your pasteurized cooked crabmeat and scombroid (histamine) producing finfish are adulterated, in that they have been prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health, ” FDA Denver District Director Harry T. Warwick, Jr. wrote the company.

FDA found San Simeon’s HACCP lacking at the storage critical control point for raw finfish, histamine producing Amberjack, Bluefish, Escolar, Herring, Mahi, Macherel, Shad, and all species of Tuna.

The Dec. 4th “Warning Letter” was released Tuesday on FDA’s website.  San Simeon had the normal 15 working days to respond with details on how it plans to comply with HACCP.

Chuck’s Seafoods, located eight miles from Coos Bay, received a very similar “Warning Letter” from FDA’s Seattle District Director Charles M. Breen.

Its HACCP violations mean its Albacore tuna products are adulterated.

FDA wants Chuck’s Seafoods to monitor temperatures more frequently and recommends the use of a continuous monitoring device the data logging.

Sanitation conditions and practices were also found wanting.  FDA called for proper labeling, storage and use of toxic chemicals; maintenance of hand washing and toilet facilities, and prevention of cross-contamination from insanitary objects on food and food contact surfaces.

FDA did not like some employee practices at Chuck’s Seafoods, including hand-packing tuna without wearing hairnets.

The agency also wants food, food packaging material and contact services protected. Employees were chewing gum in the processing room and there was a coffee cup on the fillet table when FDA visited the Oregon processor.

Chuck’s Seafoods was given 15 days to respond with its corrections to the Dec. 14th letter.

Chuck’s Seafood is a family owned business started in 1953.  It includes a retail counter; smoke house, and custom cannery that canned salmon and tuna for sports fisherman.

Across the country in Bridgeport, PA, Awesome Foods Inc. President Bruce S. Weinstein received his Dec. 15th “Warning Letter” from FDA’s Philadelphia District Director Kirk Sooter.

FDA’s actions against Awesome Foods stem from inspections last May and a review of claims made on the company’s website.

Sooter said Awesome Foods has labeling violations for its Raw Essence Bread (fails to disclose food allergens); Raw Coconut Spread and Raw Zucchini Broad (faulty nutritional label); Raw Parmesan Cheeze  (not common or usual name) and Blueberry Cashew Bar (false claims about ingredient benefits).

FDA also objects to claims on the Awesome Foods website for its “Raw Healthy Carb Food.”  FDA wants “healthy” dropped and says it will not object to the company advertising “Raw Right Carb Food.”  That’s how its website currently reads.

Awesome Foods has written to FDA about these issues three times in the past year, but the “Warning Letter” means it will have to respond one more time and within 15 days.

© Food Safety News