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Two More Seafood Processors With Violations

Vacuum-packed cold smoked mackerel from Auburn, WA and ready-to-eat lobster meat products, tuna and pasteurized crabmeat products from Middletown, RI are among the latest seafoods to be found adulterated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The two seafood processors involved, Newport Lobster Co. Inc. in Rhode island, and Euro International Inc. in Washington state, received warning letters publicly released June 14 by the FDA about their “serious violations” of federal food safety laws.

A Feb. 28 warning letter to Newport stemmed from inspections at the Auburn facility last Nov. 23 to Dec. 15.   FDA’s concerns center on record keeping and sanitation practices at the seafood processing facility.

The agency said the facility was not maintaining monitoring records for routine cooking of lobster, not monitoring ice at the cooler, and not maintaining records at receiving. 

Newport  did not have sanitation records for the first 11 months of 2010, causing FDA to be concerned about everything from the water quality in the facility to whether pests were being kept out of the food plant.

The May 27 warning letter to Euro International cited the lack of a seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for refrigerated, vacuum-packaged cold smoked mackerel to control the risk of Clostridium botulism toxin and scrombrotoxin (histamine) formation.

Each of the seafood companies was given 15 business days to respond to the FDA’s concerns.

Seafood facilities are frequently subjects of FDA warning letters. Unlike meat and poultry, which are regulated by USDA, seafood processors are not under continuous inspection.

© Food Safety News
  • ian

    Dan,
    While it seems that these two companies are in non-compliance (no HACCP plan and poor sanitation), your introduction suggests that their products were found to be “adulterated”. This does not seem to be the case. There does not seem to have been a recall or destruction of product mandated by an “adulterated” finding. The above noted plans are meant to insure that products do not become adulterated.

  • mrothschild

    Ian: Thanks for commenting. I understand what you’re saying, the products weren’t necessarily impure, but “adulterated” is also defined as not conforming to legal standards and that is how the term is used by the FDA — the lack of a HACCP plan means that the products are legally considered to be adulterated. Here is the boilerplate from both warning letters: “In accordance with 21 CFR 123.6(g), failure of a processor of fish or fishery products to have and implement a HACCP plan that complies with this section or otherwise operate in accordance with the requirements of Part 123, renders the fish or fishery products adulterated within the meaning of Section 402(a)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(4)]. Accordingly, your refrigerated, vacuum-packaged cold smoked mackerel is adulterated, in that it has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.”

  • Minkpuppy

    FSIS uses similar definitions of “adulterated” to mean any meat products produced and held under insanitary conditions or produced without a HACCP plan.
    The failure to document anything during the cooking and pastuerization processes makes it extremely hard for the establishment to prove that the product is not injurious to health. There’s just no way to verify that lethality is reached during those steps, hence the “adulterated” ruling.

  • Mary Rothschild

    Ian: Thanks for commenting. I understand what you’re saying, the products weren’t necessarily impure, but “adulterated” is also defined as not conforming to legal standards and that is how the term is used by the FDA — the lack of a HACCP plan means that the products are legally considered to be adulterated. Here is the boilerplate from both warning letters: “In accordance with 21 CFR 123.6(g), failure of a processor of fish or fishery products to have and implement a HACCP plan that complies with this section or otherwise operate in accordance with the requirements of Part 123, renders the fish or fishery products adulterated within the meaning of Section 402(a)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(4)]. Accordingly, your refrigerated, vacuum-packaged cold smoked mackerel is adulterated, in that it has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.”