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FDA Inspectors Cite Two Cheese Makers

Inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said they saw two cheese manufacturers make mistakes right out in the open.

During inspections last Sept. 22 to Oct. 13 at Schindler’s Broad Run Cheese House Inc., ln Dover, OH, the FDA said it observed several violations of Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP).

Those regulations require cheese manufacturers to maintain buildings, fixtures, and utensils and equipment in a clean and sanitary condition.  In an April 13 warning letter, here’s what the FDA said it observed:

— The company president “poured an unmeasured amount of a red liquid, purported to be acid cleaner, from an unlabeled jug directly into the balance tank  … Caustic cleaner from the CIP pasteurizer was drained directly on the floor while cheese was present in the processing room.”

— “Employees were dipping and washing utensils into grey murky-colored wash water; and no sanitizer was observed in use at the time.”

— “A reddish slimy substance, along with what appeared to be black mold, was observed on the inside of both brine tanks that were holding in-process cheese.”

— “The walls surrounding the fixed brine tank, containing uncovered 200 pound blocks of cheese, exhibit chipped cement and paint peeling off cement … “

— “The ceiling in the brine room exhibit what appears to be black mold and condensate above the brine tanks containing uncovered 200 pound blocks of cheese.”

Hand washing facilities were described as inadequate because soap was not provided and in one instance an employee was seen using a green pad intended for cleaning utensils to wash his hands.

The Ohio cheese manufacturer was faulted by the FDA for “misbranding” — not listing ingredients used in its products that are major food allergens.  FDA also charged that the firm “routinely ships what you label ‘Ohio Swiss Cheese’ that has not been aged for 60 days.”

Meanwhile, FDA this week also released a March 14 warning letter sent to Galati Cheese Company Ltd. in Windsor, Ontario.   Based on a Jan. 10-11 inspection, FDA said the Canadian cheese manufacturer failed to store and transport its product under conditions to protect against physical, chemical or microbial contamination.

FDA said the ready-to-eat cheese from the Windsor company was in plastic pails that could not be adequately cleaned.  “Alternatives, such as properly designed and manufactured cheese molds that are cleanable and intended for draining whey from ricotta cheese, would be considered acceptable under CGMP regulation,” the warning letter says.

Galati Cheese Company Ltd. has 30 working days to respond to the FDA’s concerns.  If it does not respond, the Windsor company’s products could be detained at the U.S. border without physical examination.

As a domestic company, Schindler’s Broad Run Cheese House Inc. was given 15 working days to respond to its warning letter.

© Food Safety News