William H. Oshiro, owner of RZM Food Factory, Makawao, HI, has agreed to stop processing and distributing food until he demonstrates to FDA that RZM Food Factory’s facility and practices comply with federal food safety requirements. The agreement, known as a consent decree or permanent injunction, was signed by a federal judge and entered in the U.S. District Court of Hawaii on Dec. 11, 2014. RZM Food Factory prepared, packed, and held ready-to-eat mung bean, alfalfa, radish and clover sprouts and distributed them in Hawaii. After FDA investigators documented unsanitary conditions at the firm during previous inspections, Oshiro had agreed to make changes in his production operation, but FDA has repeatedly found and documented unsanitary conditions. Sprouts are commonly consumed in their raw state without further processing to eliminate pathogens. Therefore, the manner in which they are produced, packed, and held is critical to ensuring that the potential for microbial contamination is minimized. Oshiro has said that RZM Food Factory is no longer processing or distributing food. If he decides to resume operations, under the consent decree, he must first demonstrate that RZM Food Factory’s sanitary practices, building, and equipment are suitable to prevent contamination of the food that it prepares and distributes. In addition, to resume operations, Oshiro must, among other things, retain an independent sanitation expert and develop a program to eliminate unsanitary conditions at the facility. “The FDA repeatedly advised RZM Food Factory of unsanitary conditions at the facility,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “If and when the company is permitted to resume operations, the FDA plans to continue monitoring its operations and may require the company to recall products or cease production if the agency discovers future violations of food safety practices.”

  • Every food safety expert I’ve ever spoken to says they’ll never eat sprouts or feed them to their family. These sprout producers should put a preventative measure in place to greatly improve the safety of the sprouts they are selling.