Vacuum-packed cold smoked mackerel from Auburn, WA and ready-to-eat lobster meat products, tuna and pasteurized crabmeat products from Middletown, RI are among the latest seafoods to be found adulterated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The two seafood processors involved, Newport Lobster Co. Inc. in Rhode island, and Euro International Inc. in Washington state, received warning letters publicly released June 14 by the FDA about their “serious violations” of federal food safety laws.
A Feb. 28 warning letter to Newport stemmed from inspections at the Auburn facility last Nov. 23 to Dec. 15. FDA’s concerns center on record keeping and sanitation practices at the seafood processing facility.
The agency said the facility was not maintaining monitoring records for routine cooking of lobster, not monitoring ice at the cooler, and not maintaining records at receiving.
Newport did not have sanitation records for the first 11 months of 2010, causing FDA to be concerned about everything from the water quality in the facility to whether pests were being kept out of the food plant.
The May 27 warning letter to Euro International cited the lack of a seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for refrigerated, vacuum-packaged cold smoked mackerel to control the risk of Clostridium botulism toxin and scrombrotoxin (histamine) formation.
Each of the seafood companies was given 15 business days to respond to the FDA’s concerns.
Seafood facilities are frequently subjects of FDA warning letters. Unlike meat and poultry, which are regulated by USDA, seafood processors are not under continuous inspection.