The firm, Seattle-based Chu Minh Corp., which makes tofu and other soy-based products, can no longer process or distribute food, and has been fined $17,800 in civil penalties, according to the order.
The decision came after the company had been warned repeatedly by both WSDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration that it was manufacturing food that posed a health risk to consumers.
WSDA has suspended Chu Minh’s license to process food two times, most recently in October of 2012.
In August of last year, FDA sent a warning letter to the company following an inspection during which the agency noted 16 different types of significant violations. Investigators noticed several sanitation problems, including pigeons sitting on exposed vats of soaking soybeans outside the facility, an employee picking his nose before handling ready-to-eat tofu, rodents (live and dead) and rodent feces in the processing facility and cracks in equipment used to process foods.
FDA also noted that some soybean drinks contained an illegal color additive. Other drinks were sold with ingredient lists that omitted additives used to make the beverages. Nutrition labels were also found to contain false information.
WSDA’s action to shut down the facility “follows several visits to Chu Minh where WSDA inspectors consistently found problems with unsanitary conditions, poor sanitation practices by employees, pest infestations and a general failure to protect food products from contamination,” said WSDA in a statement Monday.
The most recent of these inspections was on March 6.
The company has 10 days to appeal WSDA’s decision, or request any reconsideration of the order, according to the agency.
Anyone who has purchased tofu or any other products from Chu Minh should discard them.
© Food Safety News