The Indiana State Department of Health placed flour under embargo from a food processing and storage facility in Indianapolis that Food and Drug Administration inspectors depicted as “contaminated with filth.”

The company, DW Trading Inc., subsequently destroyed the flour along with some noodles and other food items.

A Sept. 30 FDA warning letter to DW Trading provides details about conditions the state and federal food safety officials found at the facility during their five day inspection there last May.

During the inspection, the warning letter said, FDA investigators found serious violations of food safety codes and regulations.

The violations as depicted by FDA included:

  • Investigators observed rodent excreta pellets on the packaging of finished food products throughout the facility, and a field exam of two separate lots of flour found contamination of both lots by rodent excreta pellets. 
  • One of these lots of flour was also found during the field exam to be contaminated by bird-like feathers.  Bird droppings, live insects, and dead insects were observed on several bags of flour.  Rodent gnaw marks were found on several bags of potato starch. Investigators observed cooler condensate dripping on exposed products, including ready-to-eat cabbage. 
  • A utensil used to scoop ice onto ready-to-eat vegetables was found lying on a surface contaminated with oil and a black mold-like substance.  
  • The roof was found leaking onto a case of mandarin oranges.  Furthermore, investigators observed that the exterior of the facility was not maintained in a manner sufficient to prevent pests from entering and contaminating stored and processed foods.  Specifically, holes and/or gaps were observed in exterior walls, around exterior fixtures such as air intake louvers, and under person and dock doors.  Open pipes and air intake louvers and fans were not screened to prevent pests from entering the building. 
  • Investigators observed a variety of living and dead animals and insects in the facility including a mouse-like animal running around; a bird flying around the facility; and, a number of dead cockroaches on a glue board. 
  • Investigators observed poison bait boxes in close proximity to food products. 
  • Investigators observed mounds of trash and debris, overgrown vegetation, and standing water in the immediate vicinity of the facility.  Mechanical debris, equipment, and a number of gallon drums were also observed against the north wall.  These conditions are capable of harboring mammalian and avian pests and insects so that they could find access to the interior of the facility. 
  • Investigators observed that metal scoops used to repackage foods, such as spices and nuts, were not cleaned between uses and were stored in a manner that exposed them to contaminants.  
  • Eight overhead lights were observed to be non-functioning in the southwest area of the warehouse.  These conditions provided a desirable area for pests to nest and make it difficult to clean and inspect the area.
  • A urinal in the bathroom on the lower level of the warehouse was overflowing.  People using the bathroom were forced to track through the standing drainage when entering or leaving.

DW Trading is privately held company with only the single Indianapolis location.