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FDA Sends Warning Letter to Sprout Grower Citing Unsanitary Facilities

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning last month to a Virginia-based sprouts grower after finding the companies facilities unsanitary.

After samples taken at Henrys Farm Inc. of Woodford, VA by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes earlier this year, FDA conducted its own investigation on May 1-4 and 10 of 2012, also finding Listeria in samples of sprouts it collected. These samples included finished product of JJBS and P-Natto brand.

FDA issued a warning letter to the company June 5, 2012 informing it of the presence of Listeria in its soy bean and mung bean sprouts.

The agency also documented “numerous insanitary conditions and practices that may have contributed directly or indirectly to contamination of your sprouts with pathogens and filth,” said FDA in a warning letter August 2.

These conditions included:

– Rodent pellets in bags of mung beans, along with gnawing on 25 kg paper bags of soybeans located in the refrigerated seed storage section. and in a shed 200 feet West of this storage area. FDA reported “a foul odor consistent with rodent infestations associated with the shed.”

– Gaps under the door to the refrigerated seed storage area and holes in the ceiling of a shed containing soybeans

– A hand-washing sink draining used water onto the floor

– An accumulation of debris in the exit bin of the wash chute leading to the sprout air dryers and packaging machine and on the underside of a conveyor belt that transports soy beans.

– Loose metal burns on the metal mesh conveyor belt in the sprout processing area measuring about a quarter of an inch around.

FDA also charges Henrys with misbranding its product, saying the company’s sprouts failed to bear a label including the name and place of business of the manufacturer or the net quantity.

The agency asked that representatives from the company appear at its Baltimore District Office September 6.

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