The 20-year-old Chantel’s Cakes and Pastries, located not far off the runways near Washington’s Dulles International Airport, has found that a federal case is being made of its problems.

Chantel’s, of Sterling, VA, was subjected to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection last Nov. 30 to Jan. 6.  The FDA said its investigation found serious violations of regulations for manufacturing, packing and holding food. Among them:

— large numbers of rodent excreta pellets (REPs) throughout the bakery, including on pallets and shelving containing finished food products, and in raw materials used for the cakes and pastries, and in and around manufacturing equipment

— dead rodents found next to a cooler and the freezer containing raw materials

— lack of a Dumpster and using its warehouse as a disposal place for 3 refrigerators, an oven, sink, catering pans, cake stands, and baskets

— not enough running water available for cleaning equipment and utensils — specifically, a hot water handle to a three-compartment sink was broken and no hot water was available to that sink

— inadequate screening or protection against pests —  plastic strip curtains between the warehouse and processing room were missing in one place and there were gaps in the bay door allowing easy access for pests

The Virginia bakery had also failed to register with FDA as required by federal law.

Calling itself a “premier bakery,” Chantel’s says it is known in northern Virginia for its “Love at First Bite” and “high quality and affordable” wedding cakes, including those that are non-dairy, egg-free, no soy, nut and gluten free. 

FDA urged whoever is responsible for the business to get it registered and the violations corrected.

“As a responsible official of a facility that manufactures/processes, packs, or holds food for human or animal consumption in the United States, you are responsible for ensuring that your overall operation and the products you distribute are in compliance with the law,” FDA said in an April 1 warning letter to Chantel’s.

“We strongly recommend that you determine the cause(s) of the rodent/pest infestation, and take all necessary corrective actions,” the warning letter continued.  “Failure to implement lasting corrective action may result in regulatory action being initiated by FDA without further notice.  This action may include seizure and/or injunction against you and your company.”

The Virginia bakery had 15 working days to respond to FDA and must document all corrective actions.