Alfred Louie, Inc., in Bakersfield, CA, has agreed to the terms of a court order not to process or distribute food until it cleans up the unsanitary conditions found by U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors. The company receives, processes, manufactures, prepares, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat mung bean and soybean sprouts and wheat flour noodles. The company also packs and distributes various dry, refrigerated and frozen food items, such as flour, nuts, rice, tea and spices received from other manufacturers.
FDA inspections since 2000 have documented numerous deficiencies in Alfred Louie’s processing facility, and laboratory testing by FDA in April and May 2013 revealed Listeria monocytogenes in sprouts and in the company’s facility. FDA repeatedly advised the company and its owners, Gordon and Victor Louie, of the unsanitary conditions at the facility.Under the consent decree approved by Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr., of the Eastern District of California, the defendants cannot process or distribute food until they demonstrate that their facility and processing equipment are suitable to prevent contamination in the food that they process, prepare, store and handle. The defendants must, among other things, retain an independent laboratory to collect and analyze samples for the presence of Listeria, retain an independent sanitation expert, and develop a program to control Listeria and to eliminate unsanitary conditions at its facility. Once the company is permitted to resume operations, FDA may still require the company to recall products or cease production if the agency discovers future violations of food-safety practices. “Companies have a responsibility to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat and is made in accordance with federal law,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “When a company continues to produce food that presents a risk for consumers, the FDA will take whatever steps necessary to protect public health.” Although no illnesses have been reported from Alfred Louie, Inc.’s products, individuals who have eaten these products and experience any of the symptoms of Listeriosis should contact their healthcare professional. Consumers can also report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.