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Pests Invade Meat-substitute Soy Facility

A building housing a soy protein “meatless meat” products processing plant near Lake Charles, LA needs repairs to keep pests out, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A May 25 warning letter regarding Lumen Soy Foods LLC was sent by the FDA to Dana Dykstra, president of the soy processor headquartered in Spring Lake, MI, about 1,200 miles north of the Lake Charles facility.

Lumen Soy Foods produces several soy products, including Heartline Meatless Meats. It sells directly to the public through its website.

FDA inspectors visited Lake Charles to inspect the Lumen Soy facility last Feb. 22-25 and on March 3,4,7,9 and 11.

The federal inspection was apparently prompted by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, which on Feb. 22 seized numerous containers of ingredients, packing and finished food products that were stored in the facility.

 FDA said Lumen Soy then voluntarily destroyed all the seized products.

Among the significant violations found at the soy plant were those that involved “widespread rodent activity in, on, and near foods” stored in the processing areas.  Examples cited in the warning letter included:

— Fresh rodent excreta and urine stains on and around 50 pound paper bags of textured vegetable protein.

— A live rodent found in a rat trap.

— Urine stains on 50-pound bags of pepperoni seasoning.

— Rodent hairs and urine stains found on 44-pound bags of soy isolate.

— Fresh rodent excreta pellets found on a pallet rack in a packing room.

— Rodent excreta and one dead roach found on a green tote containing carob flavor and under a packing table in the ingredient room.

— Packaging throughout the facility gnawed by rodents.

FDA said the pest problem inside the plant was being caused by the failure to screen open areas and gaps from the outside. It said there were gaps around a roll-down door in the warehouse, and at several other locations.

FDA shared its Form 483 Inspection observations with the company on March 11, and Lumen Soy responded in writing on March 15. In that letter Lumen Soy told FDA it had sealed all the potential entry points.   

FDA said the company failed to provide documentation, so the agency said it would determine whether the steps taken were adequate at the next inspection.

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