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Pacific Nutritional Foods Agrees to Pay $30,000

Oregon’s attorney general has cracked down on a Tualatin-based manufacturer of soy and tofu products for allegedly selling contaminated food and then surreptitiously pulling it off the market.


Pacific Nutritional Foods Inc. agreed to pay the state $30,000, adopt new practices to prevent contamination, and follow state and federal food safety reporting regulations, in an out of court settlement filed at the end of June.


In the settlement the company did not admit to any violations.


A joint venture of Morinaga Nutritional Foods Inc., in Torrance, Calif., and Pacific Foods of Tualatin, the company said it had made personnel and manufacturing changes to ensure the quality of its food, reported Oregon Live.


“Pacific Nutritional Foods is committed to maintaining high standards in its manufacturing and packaging of its products,” the company said in a statement.


Last October the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to the company. In the letter, the FDA accused the company of “serious violations” of food safety regulations.


It said the company received consumer complaints about spoilage of two of its soy beverages–Pacific Natural Foods Barista Series Soy Blenders Vanilla and Select Soy Low Fat Vanilla–produced in October 2008. The FDA said the company tested the products, found potentially harmful bacteria and withdrew them from the market without informing the agency about either the contamination or the recall.


Under the state’s consumer law, the Unlawful Trade Practices Act, Attorney General John Kroger’s office began an investigation prompted by the FDA warning letter.


Pacific Nutritional Foods manufactures low-acid canned food that is classified as high risk by the FDA because it can carry a risk of botulism if it is not properly prepared.


Although the company did not find botulism in its soy products, Streptococcus popped up.


According to the CDC, group A Streptococcus is a bacterium often found in the throat and on the skin. People may carry group A streptococci in the throat or on the skin and have no symptoms of illness. Most infections are relatively mild illnesses such as “strep throat,” or impetigo. Occasionally these bacteria can cause severe and even life-threatening diseases.


The FDA said the contamination was linked to an equipment failure.

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