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Listeria Found in Ready-to-Eat Meat Plant

A Detroit food processing facility has some significant food safety problems, including Listeria found in the slicing room for ready-to-eat meats, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disclosed Tuesday.

Scotty’s Inc. was inspected last August and FDA found numerous violations of federal food safety laws and regulations.  The agency gave the company its observations in an FDA 483 form after the inspection.  They were all restated in a formal “Warning Letter” to Scotty’s Inc. last Nov. 9.

That letter was made public Tuesday.

A test swab from a plastic container in the meat slicing room was positive for Listeria.

In 2008, listeria spread by meat slicing equipment at the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto proved to be the source of an outbreak that eventually killed 22 mostly elderly Canadians.   Listeria is often difficult to remove once it finds “niches” inside a food processing facility.

FDA said Scotty’s Inc. does not have a plan to control histamines and pathogens while preparing tuna salad sandwiches, an activity the company promised to cease after Aug. 27, 2009.

Among the other problems FDA inspectors found at the Detroit facility were:

Toilet facilities for employees were found lacking, especially the male facility which was “smelly and in a state of disrepair.”  The female facility lacked “running water of a suitable temperature.” Both lacked self-closing doors and proper hand washing facilities and signage.

The physical plant was not in good repair.  Ceiling tiles are missing, exposing process areas to insulation, pipes, and peeing paint.

Employees store personal belongings in food process areas, and wear “unsecured jewelry” that inspectors said could easily fall into ready-to-eat sandwiches.

Equipment and utensils are worn, including cutting boards and spatulas that are deeply grooved and stained.

Taken together, FDA found that conditions at Scotty’s Inc. mean its ready-to-eat foods are adulterated or impure as defined by federal food safety laws and regulations.  The company had 15 working days to respond to FDA.

In another “Warning Letter” released Tuesday, FDA said a dairy farm located on Highland Road in Christiana, PA sold a cow for slaughter with the drug flunixin in the edible liver tissue at levels higher than allowed by federal regulation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service conducted the tests after the sale.

FDA told dairy owner Christian M. Huyard “you hold animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply.”

The Pennsylvania dairy was warned by certified mail on Feb. 12, and given 15 working days to respond.

© Food Safety News
  • Jean McDermott

    Why did it take SEVEN months for this notification to go out? That is shameful!