An ice cream manufacturing facility located in Washington state was found last spring with pests, poor screening, bad plumbing, cracked walls, and equipment and utensils that were not properly stored. 

The problems were discovered during an inspection last April 20, 21, and 27 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and disclosed in a recently released July 21 warning letter to the company known as Theno’s Dairy in Redmond, WA. 

Big Daddy’s Creamery, LLC, owner of the ice cream plant, previously responded to FDA’s Form 483, a summary of the inspections, by making some corrections. The ice cream maker, however, still has a ways to go, according to the FDA warning letter. 

Theno’s is failing to exclude pests from the facility as evidenced by FDA finding one dead rodent, one dead mouse, and at least 27 rodent excreta pellets in the hallway bait trap and another 96 in the storage area near a walk-in freezer. 

Also, eight dead adult psocids (booklice) and one dead adult fly were directly above an open vat of pasteurized ice cream and moths, ants, and other insects were found in various other locations.

There was evidence of birds in various locations in the facility. 

FDA acknowledged “you have removed rodents and REPs (rodent excreta pellets) and cleaned up the insect and bird activity in the facility.” However, the company has not provided evidence that it has taken steps to prevent re-occurrence of the problems, such as by providing copies of a contract with a pest control firm. 

The loading dock door and gaps in doorways left openings for pests to enter the plant, FDA said. In its response to the inspection, the company said it hoped to get around to the problem by the end of summer.

Inspectors also observed wastewater from a sink being discharged on to the floor, and then being used to wash and sanitize plastic containers. In its response to the inspection, 

Theno’s said it hoped to fix the plumbing problem in the “winter of 2011.”

FDA said plumbing at the ice cream facility needs “immediate corrective action.” 

Theno’s also was cited for it’s handling of its equipment, containers, and utensils, and FDA said it had failed to follow through to confirm it had made the corrections.

FDA had problems with cracked floors in the facility and the outside storage of equipment that may also contain pests. Toilet and drainage facilities also came up short. 

Owner Big Daddy’s was given 15 days to respond to the warning letter.