The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Sun Valley Juice Company of Ketchum, ID, to stop receiving, processing, preparing, packing, holding, and distributing juice until the agency determines that the company is complying with applicable laws and regulations to make sure their products are safe. Sun Valley Juice Company has received a letter ordering it to cease all operations and confirm within five days that it has complied with the letter, FDA stated, adding that the company complied with those demands. Juice orange and grapefruitFDA officials said they had made several attempts to help the company comply with the applicable regulations before seeking the shutdown. In 2006, a federal judge signed a court-ordered consent decree between the FDA and the company in which the company agreed, among other things, to establish and implement a hazard prevention plan. However, FDA investigators have repeatedly found the company out of compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the terms of the consent decree, the agency stated. “When a company repeatedly disobeys food safety laws and regulations and does not stick to a court-ordered agreement designed to protect public health, the FDA must use the full power of the courts to protect consumers,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. Because Sun Valley Juice Company does not pasteurize its juice, a process known to kill bacteria that could cause illnesses such as E. coli, the company must take other steps to prevent potentially harmful bacteria from contaminating its juice, FDA stated. The consent decree and subsequent inspections were intended to ensure that the company was taking these necessary steps designed to protect human health. The company can resume operations once FDA is confident it can abide by the appropriate laws and regulations.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)