U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials recently sent warning letters to owners of a pizza dough and cheese grating/repackaging facility in NY, a fortune cookie manufacturing plant in GA, a rice storage/milling facility in FL, two dairies in NY and one in OH. Losurdo Foods Inc. of Hackensack, NJ, was a sent a letter Sept. 22 notifying the company of numerous problems at its facility in Amsterdam, NY, which produces frozen pizza dough, cannoli cream, bread crumbs and garlic spread, and it also grates and repackages various cheese products. According to the FDA letter, an environmental sample collected on Feb. 19, 2014, confirmed that 18 of 72 environmental swabs taken at the facility were positive for Listeria monocytogenes. “The positive swabs were collected from various locations within your Cheese Room and Bun Room which included direct food contact surfaces such as the sifter and cheese wheel cutting table,” the letter stated. In addition, FDA asserted that hygienic practices and general cleanliness were inadequate at the facility, with employees’ clothing and bare arms in contact with food or packaging materials and the presence of both live and dead insects observed near manufacturing equipment. The agency also cited several violations of food-labeling regulations. Poinciana Milling Complex Inc. was informed Sept. 17 that, after FDA inspections in June, July and August, its facility in Kissimee, FL, exhibited “gross insanity conditions” and violations of CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) regulations. These included various live or dead insects “in, on, and near food stored throughout your facilities,” exposed totes of what appeared to be moldy rice stored outside the facility, and inadequately bonded or maintained seams on food-contact surfaces and milling equipment. FDA sent a Sept. 17 warning letter to Well Luck Company Inc. of Jersey City, NJ, regarding problems observed during inspections from July 23-Aug. 7, 2014, at its fortune cooking manufacturing facility in Atlanta, GA. The letter stated that live and dead mice and a dead rat were seen in traps at the facility. In addition, a mouse was seen running alongside the dock area. Rodent feces, urine and hair, along with evidence of gnawing, were also observed, FDA stated. Further, the agency cited “live roach-like insects too numerous to count” along a wall in the fortune cooking processing room behind an ice machine and adjacent to stand mixers in use during production. At the same time, FDA acknowledged company efforts to clean the warehouse and otherwise improve maintenance of the facility. On Sept. 22, Petrie Farms of Arcade, NY, was sent a warning letter noting that a bob veal calf sold for slaughter on Dec. 2, 2013, was later found to have 1.3 parts per million of desfuroylceftiofur (marker residue for ceftiofur) in its kidney tissues. FDA’s established tolerance for desfuroylceftiofur is 0.4 ppm. Therefore, this amount “causes the food to be adulterated” under federal law, the letter stated. FDA sent Jerry Slabaugh of Kenton, OH, a warning letter on Sept. 16 stating that he had sold a bob veal calf for slaughter on or about Feb. 20, 2014. Analysis of the animal’s tissues later showed the presence of 0.123 ppm of sulfamethazine in the liver and the presence of tulathromycin in the kidney. FDA’s established tolerance is 0.10 ppm for sulfamethazine residues; however, the agency has not established a tolerance for tulathromycin in the edible tissues of bob veal calves, the letter noted.
On Sept. 23, Double E Dairy LLC of Lowville, NY, was sent a warning letter by FDA stating that two bob veal calves were sold for slaughter which later were found to have unacceptable levels of neomycin residue in their kidney tissues. The first was found to have 9.83 ppm, while the second had 29.99 ppm. The FDA tolerance level for neomycin in the kidney tissues of cattle is 7.2 ppm, but the letter noted that there is no acceptable level of residue associated with the use of neomycin in bob veal calves. Therefore, the presence of the drug causes the food to be adulterated, the letter stated. In each letter, FDA requested that the recipients provide written responses detailing steps taken to bring them into compliance with food safety laws and regulations, to correct violations cited in the letters, and to prevent their recurrence. Recipients of the warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to outline specific steps they have taken to come into compliance with the law.