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Cherry Juice and Lefsa Get FDA’s Attention

Juice, bread, and the Norwegian flatbread called lefsa are not the kind of products that come to mind when one thinks about the risk of foodborne illnesses.

But a series of inspections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) call that conventional wisdom into question.

Each of those products was being made in a facility that FDA recently inspected and found conditions that it said cause the products to be considered adulterated.

On Jan. 5, FDA sent a warning letter to Santaquin, UT-based Rowley’s South Ridge Farms Inc.  about its juice processing facility.  It said “serious deviations” were found last Sept. 28-30 in Rowley’s juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan.

“Accordingly, your refrigerated juice products from fresh pressed apples and from concentrated cherry juice are adulterated, in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health,” the warning letter said.

Rowley’s does not have a HACCP plan for its red tart cherry and red barn cider fresh pressed pasteurized apple juice, the FDA said.  The agency also said the Utah company lacked sanitation records in the following areas:

— water and ice safety

— condition and cleanliness of food contact surfaces, including utensils, gloves, and outer garments

— prevention of cross contamination

— maintenance of hand washing , hand sanitizing, and toilet facilities

— protection of food contact surfaced

— proper labeling storage, and use of toxic compounds

— control of employee health conditions

— exclusion of posts from the food plant

FDA said Rowley’s is not performing 5-log pathogen reduction for its red tart cherry juice.  A 5-log reduction means the number of germs is 100,000 times smaller.

In a March 8 warning letter from FDA to Colorado Springs, CO-based Wimberger’s Old World Bakery, the federal agency said an inspection of the bakery last Oct. 20-20 resulted in a finding that its bread was adulterated.

FDA charged Wimberger’s with failure to take effective measures to control pests, including live and dead flour beetle insects and beetles in the larval stage. It said fruit flies, ants and flies were observed in the processed bread dough product, raw ingredient container, finished bread, production equipment, oven and production rooms.

FDA also had concerns about the cleaning processes at the bakery.

At Ulen, MN-based Lena’s Lefsa Inc., FDA inspected last Oct. 29 through Nov. 2 and issued a warning letter March 28.

FDA found the Norwegian staple to be misbranded because wheat is an ingredient, but was not identified as an allergen as required by federal law.

Labels used by Lena’s also do not declare product ingredients that contain two or more ingredients, FDA said.

The three companies were asked to respond to FDA within 15 working days with information on how they were going to correct the violations.

© Food Safety News