Few in Indianapolis take exception to the claim made in the name of the business called “The Best Chocolate In Town.”
In print and website reviews, Indianapolis residents are giddy about the chocolate products coming out of the food manufacturing facility on Massachusetts Avenue near the intersection of interstates 65 and 70.
But “The Best Chocolate in Town” was not adhering to “Current Good Manufacturing Practices,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, when the Indy candy factory was inspected by FDA last May 24 and 25.
In an Aug 8 warning letter to The Best’s Elizabeth A. Garber, FDA said that inspection found employees were not doing enough to ensure that nuts used in some chocolates were not coming in contact with the nut-free chocolates.
For example, the inspector said the same equipment used to hand dip the milk chocolate pecan turtles was then used to dip the chocolate-covered Oreo cookies without a cleaning or segregation method to remove all traces of tree-nut allergens. Visual inspection and hand removal of any nuts from the tempering machine was not sufficient to remove allergen residue, the warning letter stated.
“In addition, during our inspection we collected production records for the operation of your dipping station during April and May 2011. These records indicate that your firm does not sequence your product (i.e., run non-allergen containing products prior to allergen containing products) to minimize the potential for cross-contamination,” the warning letter added. “Of particular concern is your manufacture of peanut-containing products, as noted in your firm’s dipping station production log, without the use of an appropriate segregation method to prevent cross-contamination.”
The warning letter said: “When allergens that are not specifically formulated in a food are identified as likely to occur in the food because of manufacturing practices, the manufacturer should identify and implement controls to reduce or prevent allergen cross-contact.”
“Examples of preventive measures include production scheduling, dedicated equipment for production runs of products for which cross-contact is a concern, and proper cleaning.”
During the inspection, FDA said its inspector was told that the company might apply precautionary labeling to products stating that the chocolates might contain nuts or that they were manufactured in a facility that produces nuts.
“Precautionary labeling, however, must not be used in lieu of adherence to good manufacturing practices, ” the warning letter said.
The Detroit district office of the FDA asked “The Best Chocolate in Town” to respond within 15 working days with information on how the violations were being corrected and how it plans to prevent any recurrence.