Three New York importers of fish and fishery products have a lot in common. Their dried filefish, dried anchovy fish, and herring filets were all refused entry into the U.S. based on testing by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laboratories. Then FDA inspected their facilities and sent them warning letters calling for immediate correction of violations.
FDA’s New York District Office sent warning letters earlier this month to the three fish importers in Brooklyn and Queens over concern that their products were not being processed under the same conditions required of domestic producers.
On March 6, FDA District Director Ron Pace wrote Peter K. Lam and Anh K. Ngo, co-owners of the Hong Lee Trading Company in Brooklyn, and Chel D. Chang, owner of the Han Sung Sikpoom Trading Company in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens. On March 7, Pace sent a third warning letter to Ira Pichkhadze, owner of Russian Products Inc. in Brooklyn.
The warning letters told the owners that their seafood importing companies are in serious violation of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations. Specifically, each was told they must provide evidence that the fish and fishery products they bring into the U.S. have been processed “under conditions that are equivalent to those required of domestic processors …”
The FDA warning letters refer to each business as a “seafood importer establishment.” The Han Sung Sikpoom Trading Co. underwent an inspection by FDA on Jan. 9 and 10, 2014; the inspection at Hong Lee Trading Co. was on Jan. 15 through Jan. 17, 2014, and those at Russian Products Inc. occurred on Jan. 23 and 24, 2014.
The inspections followed refused admission of Han Sung’s dried filefish, Hong Lee’s dried anchovy fish, and Russia Products’ herring.
Unless they make immediate corrections, all products being imported by all three companies could be placed on the list for “detention with physical examination,” meaning that U.S. ports would not permit entry of any of their products.
Separately, FDA’s Baltimore District Office sent a warning letter on March 6 to La Tienda Inc. regarding a seafood warehouse located in Toano, VA. The company was found to have significant violations of regulations for HACCP documents and record keeping.© Food Safety News