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Hawaii Food Center Gets Chance to Clean Up

A contract food bottling and packaging company on the Hawaiian island of Oahu that was responsible for the recall of about 100 local food products in January received a June 29 warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relating to the incident.

First Commercial Kitchens, LLC, which claimed to be “Hawaii’s first food processing center,” was cited by FDA for deviating from federal regulations for acidified foods.

Located in Waipahu, First Commercial not only faced the big recall last winter, but was also shut down for a time. The FDA was on hand to inspect the food-processing facility from last Dec. 28 to Feb. 4.

According to the FDA, its inspection found the following serious violations:

— The laboratory analysis for at least one product found that the equilibrium pH did not meet federal code.

— The company failed to provide a scheduled process to the FDA for processing a new acidified food product for both Arturo’s Hot Flavors of Hawaii Moloka’l Sauce and India Cafe Creamy Tikka Masala Sauce.

— The company failed to monitor through testing and recording the equilibrium pH for any of its processed acidified food products, including the Moloka’i Hot Sauce, Tikka Masala Sauce and Barb’s Local Style and Ohana Flavors Black Bean Sauces.  

— The firm did not document or maintain batch records that targeted equilibrium pH and critical factors including minimum process times and proper processing temperatures.

— No one from First Commercial Kitchens had attended training approved by the FDA for acidified foods manufacturing in order to supervise others.

— Containers used by the company were not market with proper codes for the year, date, and period in which the food was packed.

The FDA’s inspection also tripped an inspection by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), which led the state to suspend First Commercial’s permit. It was ordered to “cease and desist” last Jan. 14.   

First Commercial was asked to respond to the FDA’s concerns within 15 working days and to prevent the problems from happening again.

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