“I am. Therefore I bake,” is the motto of the Tiller Biscotti & Cookie Company in Jackson, MS. Federal regulators, however, seem to focus more on the existence of potential violations of Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) and labeling laws.

Tiller received a Jan. 24 warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after an inspection last September turned up what the agency described as deviations from the CGMP as well as failure to follow to labeling rules.

The Jackson bakery provides its biscotti and cookies to area restaurants.

FDA said Tiller failed to take necessary precautions against contamination of food, food contact surfaces and food packaging. It said the baker last Sept. 10 failed to clean equipment between batches of almond and chocolate cube biscotti.

The baker also handled non-sanitized objects, specifically a door, and then continued preparing for baking without hand washing and sanitizing, inspectors said. The baking crew was observed eating and drinking while baking biscotti.

FDA also said it found:

— Food production employees had not covered their beards during the manufacturing process.

— Equipment, containers, and utensils were not being protected against contamination. 

— A return register air vent over a doorway entrance was sending dust and residue into product ingredients prior to mixing.

— Dust was found on lids of plastic containers used to store finished product.

— A pit in a wooden table used to prepare biscotti indicated a failure to maintain equipment.

— Pests, specifically flies, were able to access the processing area.

— Safety-type light fixtures were not being used.

FDA also said Tiller was violating labeling requirements by not disclosing that its biscotti and cookies contain some common food allergens. In other instances, labels did not include nutritional information or list the name and place of the manufacturer, packer, and distributor properly.

FDA asked the Mississippi baker to respond within 15 days with documentation on how it is going to comply with the regulations.