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FDA: Unsanitary Conditions at Herb, Mushroom Operation

An Oregon produce repacking operation for fresh farm and wild mushrooms and herbs, as well as some specialty products, is doing business under some insanitary conditions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says.

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In a Aug. 10 warning letter, FDA documented what it called serious violations of Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations at Farm and Wild Fresh Paradise Gourmet Foods in Portland.

Hugo F. Chang, owner of Farm and Wild Fresh Paradise Gourmet Foods, was asked for comment on FDA’s letter, but declined the opportunity.  

In addition to mushroom and herbs, the Portland firm’s gourmet lineup includes numerous varieties of basil, parsley, chives, oregano, shiso leaf and truffles.

FDA says those products are being “prepared, packed, or held under  insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health.”

FDA inspectors visited Gourmet Foods on three occasions last April finding:

— No running water for cleaning equipment, utensils and food packaging materials or for employee sanitary facilities.

— No hand washing facilities provided for either start of work or at work stations.

— No precautions to protect against the contamination of food, food contact surfaces, and food packaging facilities from microorganisms and foreign substances. (Fresh chives were being cut by someone with bare hands and a bandage over a cut finger.)

— Only water in a spray bottle — not soap and sanitizer — and water in a bathroom sink were being used to clean processing utensils.

— Work in progress was not being handled in a manner to prevent contamination.

— Newspapers were being used to cover food contact surfaces.  Newspapers cannot be cleaned and sanitized and may harbor bacteria.

— Storage areas with boxes, crates, and other miscellaneous items were creating harborage areas for pests.

Chang was given 15 working days to respond to the letter from FDA’s Seattle district office.

© Food Safety News
  • Kathi Blackmore

    First of all, great article. Thanks for the info. My question is that the letter to Mr. chang from FDA’s Seattle District was written on August 10th 2011. The notice gave Mr. Chang 15 days to become compliant. Has a follow up been done and what are the results? Thank you, Kathi Blackmore