Lao Trading Company of Nashville and owner Peng Bandith have agreed not to distribute food through interstate commerce that was held in insanitary conditions.

The agreement comes in the form a consent degree approved Oct. 13 by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

It stems from evidence of rodent activity found throughout the company’s food storage warehouse found by investors from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The consent degree permanently prohibits the Lao Trading Company from distributing the food in interstate commerce.

The Lao Trading Company distributes food through its retail store and food stores throughout the Middle Tennessee area, including the cities of Nashville, LaVergne, Smyrna, and Murfreesboro. 

Among the types of food distributed by the company are seafood items, tofu, canned fruits, vegetables and drinks, rice, rice sticks, fruit juice drinks, coconut milk, fish sauce and soy sauce.

This is the second enforcement action the federal government has brought against the company. In 2005, U.S. marshals, acting at the request of FDA, seized adulterated food at the firm’s warehouse after inspectors found widespread rodent activity and structural defects.

“The violations at Lao Trading Co. are serious and repetitive,” said Dara A.Corrigan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA took this action because the company failed to provide adequate safeguards to ensure that products they produce or hold for sale remain free of contamination.”

Under the consent decree, Lao Trading Co. agreed to follow appropriate pest control practices, maintain its facility in a sanitary condition and undergo routine inspections to ensure continued compliance.

In 2005, U.S. Marshals seized all FDA-regulated items susceptible to rodent contamination. The seized products were considered adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because they were held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth.