Seafood processing facilities turning out lobster bisque, canned pasteurized crabmeat and refrigerated tuna loins, as well as yellow fin and big eye tuna, received warning letters in February about their operations.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent the warning letters on:

-Feb. 4 to Greene, ME -based KJPL Restaurants Inc., doing business as Hurricanes Soup & Chowder Co.

-Feb. 18 to Green Island, NY-based Carioto Produce Inc.

-Feb. 23 to Maspeth, NY-based Sea Express Inc.

The letters were released to the public on March 1.

FDA told KJPL Restaurants that its seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan for “Soup with Fish & Shellfish & Mollusks” does not list the food safety hazard of Clostridium botulinum. 

KJPL’s packaging materials for its finished soup products “create a potential for Clostridium botulinum growth and formation,” the warning letter said.

FDA gave the Maine processor specific suggestions, including establishing an adequate cooking process, monitoring cooking times and temperatures with equipment capable of collecting continuous data, and filtering system to prevent post-processing contamination.

It also suggested additional controls during chilling and refrigeration. FDA also wants KJPL to address how it will control Listeria monocytogenes during the receiving and cool storage of its fresh lobster claw/knuckle product.

FDA found that KJPL’s response to the Form 483 inspection report did not adequately address all the issues the agency is concerned about, and the company was asked to respond with documentation within 15 working days.

Seafood HACCP problems were also cited in the warning letter to Carioto Produce.

Specifically, Carioto’s HACCP plan  “does not have an HACCP plan for ready-to-eat (RTE) canned pasteurized crabmeat to control the food safety hazards of pathogen growth and toxin formation, including Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation.”

Also, FDA said the New York seafood processing facilities “plan for histamine forming species does not list the critical control point(s) of receiving and refrigerated storage for controlling the food safety hazard of histamine formation.”

For Sea Express Inc., FDA’s main concern was that the firm does not have a HACCP plan for refrigerated raw flounder to control the possibility of parasites.

FDA said the Sea Express HACCP plan for “Histamine/C-bot” during processing and storage was not adequate for controlling Clostridium botulinum.     

The inspection last Dec. 9-15 also found that sanitation conditions were not being adequately monitored at Sea Express. For example, a hose was being used haphazardly to spray down the tuna and walls in the area where ready-to-eat yellow fin tuna was being filleted, and plastic curtains at the entry to the walk-in cooler were “covered in grime.”