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Marshals Seize Food from TN Warehouse

U.S. Marshals in Nashville Wednesday seized $1 million worth of food from a Tennessee food processor and storage warehouse.  The federal agency took the police action on behalf of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

The processing facility and storage warehouse, which is owned by Won Feng Trading Inc., contained food that was contaminated, according to FDA.

Marshals seized a wide variety of bulk restaurant foods, such as 44-pound bags of rice, fresh produce, and frozen food products that FDA deemed contaminated by rodents, insects or other filth.

Won Feng receives food from throughout the United States and distributes its products within the state of Tennessee.  Tian G. Zheng owns the Nashville-based company.

FDA said as far as it knows, no foodborne illnesses have been associated with the conditions at the Won Feng facilities.

The food company raid was apparently carried out without incident.   

Products at Won Feng were found by FDA to be adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because they have been held under unsanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth.  The Act uses the term “insanitary” to describe such conditions.

The Marshals seized all foods subject to FDA regulation by executing a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

“The violations at Won Feng Trading are both serious and repetitive,” said Michael Chappell, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA will take actions against any food companies that fail to provide adequate safeguards to ensure that products they produce or hold for sale remain free of contamination.”

The FDA had previously issued a “Warning Letter” to Won Feng in May 2009, citing numerous deviations from current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements, including ineffective measures taken by the firm to exclude pests. The firm stated in a June response to the FDA that it had corrected the violations cited in the Warning Letter.

In a follow-up inspection completed in November 2009, the FDA investigators found evidence of an active and widespread rodent infestation in the building, including live and dead rodents, rodent hair, rodent nesting material, evidence of rodent-gnawed food, and rodent urine.

The FDA investigators also observed insect filth and live birds in the building, and found that the building had defects that could allow pests to enter food storage areas.

These unsanitary conditions and practices led to Wednesday’s seizure action.

After its inspection in early 2009, Won Feng voluntarily destroyed 49 bags of G&L Cracker Meal, five bags of Kokhuro rice, and four cases of minced garlic.

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