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Evergreen State Seafood Processor Gets FDA Warning

Pickled herring, pickled wild salmon, and smoked salmon—all refrigerated products–from a Washington state seafood processor are all adulterated or impure, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has found.

In a Sept. 22 warning letter to Quality Plus Products Inc., located in Bellingham, WA, FDA said the processing company has “serious violations” of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations.

“Accordingly, your refrigerated pickled herring, refrigerated pickled wild salmon, and refrigerated smoked salmon products are adulterated, in that they have been prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health,” the FDA warning letter said.

FDA said Quality Plus Products must:

-conduct or have conducted a hazard analysis for each kind of fish or fishery product it produces to determine whether there are food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur.

-plan for every hazard likely to occur with critical control points established when it might be possible to prevent, eliminate or reduce risks to acceptable levels.

-use “fish thickness” and “brining” and product temperatures during cooling as critical control points.

-establish adequate monitoring for salting and pickling.

-strengthen plans to control Clostridium botulinum toxin production and growth

-insure the safety of its imports.

-protect packaging materials and utensils from cross-contamination.

“In addition, please be advised that FDA conducted water phase salt (WFS) analysis on samples of your smoked salmon product collected during inspection,” FDA wrote. “The results of these analyses indicate a wild variation in the finished product WPS levels.  We recommend that your firm perform quarterly WPS analysis to verify your processes achieve adequate and consistent WPS levels in each lot of product.”

Quality Plus Products’ last run-in with FDA occurred in 2007 when it had to recall its 7-ounce Jackson’s Quality Plus Smoked Wild Salmon spread for undeclared eggs.

The seafood processor was asked to respond to FDA’s district office in Bothell, WA.

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