A maker of kosher salads in New York State is finding itself in trouble with two federal regulatory agencies.
U.F.S. Industries Inc., doing business as Sally Sherman Foods, received a July 21 warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and then learned it faces a $247,000 fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) largely for failure to correct hazards inside its Mount Vernon facility.
FDA said Sally Sherman’s refrigerated ready-to-eat fishery products packed in oxygen-limiting containers including tuna salad, seafood salad, and cream cheese and lox “are adulterated in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health.”
Since November 2009, OSHA has been trying to get Sally Sherman Foods to provide adequate fall protection, machine guarding, and hazardous energy control for its workers. The agency has proposed the fine because the corrections have not been made.
“The bulk of these sizable fines stem from five instances in which the company agreed to correct specific hazards and did not follow through on that commitment,” said Diana Cortez, OSHA’s area director in Tarrytown. “This situation meant workers at the plant remained exposed to potential falls, lacerations, crushing, and amputation injuries or being caught in the moving parts of machinery. That is not acceptable.”
FDA’s warning letter says Sally Sherman Foods must conduct a hazard analysis to determine the food safety hazards that are likely to occur, and then write a HACCP plan to control them. Currently, its HACCP plan for tuna salad, seafood salad, and cream cheese and lox spread that are packaged in the oxygen-limiting containers and does not take into account the potential for growth of botulism, toxic formations, and allergens.
FDA said the tuna salad is also susceptible to scombrotoxin (histamine) formation.
Its current HACCP plan also falls short because it does not address controlling the food safety hazard of pathogen growth and toxin formation in cooking scallops. For the cream cheese and lox, there is no listed control point for post-cook, pre-mix cooling of the lox to control pathogen growth and toxin formation.
Its OSHA violations are for exposing workers to falls from heights of five to six feet from missing guardrails, and lack of protection from moving parts of mixing machines and shredders. The agency said the plant also lacks a lockout system for machinery. Those items carried the bulk of the fines, some $236,500.
Both federal agencies gave the New York salad maker 15 days to respond to the various violations.
Sally Sherman Foods is “a pioneer in the kosher processing and marketing industry,” according to the Orthodox Union website. The Mount Vernon food processor has been in business for more than 30 years.© Food Safety News