The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a formal warning letter June 17, 2015, regarding significant food safety violations to a seafood importer in South El Monte, a city in the San Gabriel Valley in California’s Los Angeles County. First Lotus Inc. was notified of violations involving Dried Fish Maw (Cape Conger) and Dried Stock Fish. FDA’s Los Angeles District Director Alonza E. Cruse warned the company’s Karen Chow that those imported fish products were found to be adulterated because they have been “prepared, packed, and held in insanitary conditions ….” Officials with FDA’s Los Angeles District inspected the First Lotus Inc. facility at 1734 Floradale Ave. in South El Monte in April, 2015. “We found that you have serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Federal Regulations, Part 123 (21 CFR Part 123),” the warning letter states. The letter notes that First Lotus must address specific requirements for importing fish and fish products. This includes providing specific evidence for all fish and fish products that are offered for entry to the United States. First Lotus does not have written verification procedures, product specifications and affirmations that imports are processed in compliance with the Seafood HACCP regulations, according to the warning letter. FDA promises it will take further action, including seizing Lotus products, unless the company promptly corrects its violations. In each warning letter it sends out, FDA requests that the company provides written responses detailing steps taken to bring facilities into compliance with food-safety laws and regulations, correct violations cited in the letters, and prevent their recurrence. Recipients of these warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to outline specific steps they have taken to come into compliance with the law.
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