Two seafood processing facilities–one in California and the other in Ohio—were on the receiving end of “Warning Letters” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that were made public this week.

FDA’s Los Angeles District sent a “Warning Letter” to Venus Foods Inc., located in City of Industry, CA, on Jan. 25, 2010.  The letter cited “deviations” regarding the company’s seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan and some misbranding issues.

More recently, FDA’s Cincinnati District sent a “Warning Letter” to Frisch’s Restaurant Inc., located in Cincinnati, on March 10, 2010 with concerns about “significant violations” over an inadequate seafood HACCP plan.

FDA inspected Venus Foods over seven days last September and issued a Form 483, which is a summary of the inspection findings.  FDA said the company adequately addressed some of the concerns raised in the inspection in a letter to the agency on Oct. 8, 2009.

In the letter to Venus, FDA said the company must implement the monitoring procedures listed in its seafood HACCP plan.  It calls for twenty-four hour monitoring to control Clostridium botulinum toxin formation.  The response letter from the company was unclear about what monitoring procedure Venus is using, the FDA letter said.

FDA also said some Venus products were “misbranded.”   Its Venus Shrimp Flavored Fish Balls and Wei-Chuan Shrimp Flavored Fish Balls are mislabeled because no shrimp has been used since 2007.

The “Venus Shrimp Flavored Fish Balls” and “Wei-Chuan Shrimp Flavored Fish Balls” list Surimi as an ingredient, which is a multi-component food, but the label does not list the sub-ingredients for the Surimi, FDA said.

The nutritional information on the label for the fish balls is for four per serving, but FDA said the serving size is actually closer to seven per serving, which is another misbranding problem.

At Frisch’s in Cincinnati, FDA said the company’s seafood HACCP plan for tuna salad “does not list the chemical food safety hazard of “Histamine,” which is reasonably likely to occur in the event of temperature abuse, or physical food safety hazards for metal due to the use of metal mixing machines during processing.”

Venus Foods Inc. is a nationwide distributor of Chinese and other Asian foods, according the company website.  It’s been in business since 1980.

The publicly traded Frisch’s Restaurant Inc. operates both Big Boy and Golden Corral restaurants from its Cincinnati headquarters.  Frisch’s has been in the restaurant business since the late 1940s.

Both Venus and Frisch’s were given 15 working days to respond to FDA.