T-Ho Foods Inc., a seafood processor in Powell, TN, was sent a July 22 warning letter from the New Orleans District Office of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is very precise about rodent excreta. In a June 1-3, 2015, inspection of the T-Ho Tennessee facility, the letter stated that FDA inspectors found:

  • At least seven apparent rodent excreta pellets (aREPs) on the floor along the southeast wall of the warehouse behind the vending machine for drinks and adjacent to a pallet holding various packaging materials and plastic tubs of powdered meat bases.
  • 406x250FDA-WARNINGAt least 13 aREPs on and under a pallet covered with a piece of cardboard along the southeast wall of the warehouse, which was holding cases of glass jar packaging materials and several paper bags of bread crumbs.
  • At least three aREPs on a pallet and 35 aREPs on the floor adjacent to a pallet holding flour and bread crumbs. The pallet was located adjacent to the lift along the northwest wall of the warehouse.
  • At least five aREPs on the floor in the west corner and at least six aREPs on the floor along the southwest wall of the spice room on the second floor.
  • At least four aREPs on the floor in the storage area adjacent to the northeast entrance to the spice room on the second floor.

FDA noted that plenty of rodent pellets had previously been found at the T-Ho facility in both June 2013 and January 2014 in areas where food ingredients and packing materials were stored. Among the warnings, T-Ho co-owners Thuc G. and Thoai Ho were told that they needed to take effective measures to exclude pests from these areas as good manufacturing practices require. FDA also found that T-Ho failed to properly store equipment and remove waste and litter, nor was its building being adequately maintained as a food processing facility, particularly involving preventing drip and condensation from contaminating food. Four of the 13 areas which FDA called to T-Ho’s attention as violations involve Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations and half were repeat violations, including monitoring and failure to conduct hazard analysis for each kind of fish or fish product. FDA gave T-Ho 15 working days to respond.

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