A shell egg production facility in Puerto Rico is on notice from the Food and Drug Administration for serious violations of food safety regulations regarding the prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis during production, storage and transportation.

Officials from the FDA’s San Juan District Office inspected the Cidra, Puerto Rico, location of Avicola Santos Inc. on Aug. 8-24, 2016, and discovered the company’s shell eggs were prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, and may have been rendered injurious to health, according to a Jan. 17 warning letter recently made public by the FDA.

The report cited five significant violations in relation to Salmonella enteritidis (SE) prevention:

  • FDAWarningcolor_406x250Failure to have and implement a written SE prevention plan that includes an appropriate monitoring method for rodents;
  • Failure to have and implement a written SE prevention plan that includes an appropriate monitoring method for flies;
  • Failure to have adequate biosecurity measures, and/or to implement the “Biosecurity Program” section of your SE prevention plan, to ensure that there is no introduction or transfer of SE into or among poultry houses;
  • Failure to hold or transport your eggs at or below 45 degrees F ambient temperature beginning 36 hours after time of lay; and
  • Failure to include a sampling plan for conducting environmental tests appropriate to the poultry house layout in the SE prevention plan.

According to the warning letter, the facility only had one bait trap station, which lacked a bait block. Investigators also observed, “too numerous to count flies inside the house and its outside premises.” The company also failed to prevent stray poultry, wild birds, cats and other animals from entering poultry houses, and had no log of visitors to the farm, on seven occasions observed by the investigator.

These violations were a handful of the examples that rendered the firm’s shell eggs to be in violation of both the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act), as well as the Public Health Service Act (the PHS Act).

The FDA allows companies 15 working days to respond to warning letters. If companies fail to properly correct violations, legal action can result in seizure of products and injunctions stopping operations. FDA has not yet posted a closeout letter on the case.

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