Catfish and carp being processed by Wisconsin’s Blum’s Spring Lake Fisheries is adulterated and misbranded, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Located in Potosi–Catfish Capital of Wisconsin—Blum’s received an Oct. 14 warning letter from FDA, stemming from an inspection last April and May.  The letter said the seafood processing facility had “serious violations” of federal food safety regulations.

Among its violations were:

  • No Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for smoked salmon and raw buffalo fish eggs.  In both instances, FDA is concerned about the processor’s ability to control pathogen growth and toxin formation.

  • No critical control points are included for the brine step of the process and for refrigerated storage of smoked fish.

  • Failure to implement the monitoring procedures and frequencies contained in the HAACP plan. FDA recommends continuous temperature data logging.

  • A residue build up on smoker racks indicated they were not being cleaned between batches.

  • Sanitation problems observed included unused equipment being a “harborage for rodents and other pests,” gaps in the door to the processing area allowed ingress for pests, and nestings and dropping were on the grounds of the smokehouse structure.

  • Sanitation control records were insufficient.

FDA also found both the Smoked Carp and Smoked Catfish as misbranded in that they are fabricated from two or more ingredients and that is not reflected on the label.

The warning letter threatens Blum’s with further action, including possible product seizure and/or enjoining the seafood processor from operating.  Blum’s responded last June 14 to the initial inspection observations.  Blum’s said it had fixed the gaps in the door to the processing room.

FDA wants Blum’s to respond to the warning letter within 15 working days.  “You should include your response documentation such as HACCP and verification records, or other useful information that would assist us in evaluating your corrections,” FDA’s Minneapolis district director advised.