A bakery in Louisiana is on notice from the FDA for failing to take required steps to ensure that food handling techniques, facility cleaning and sanitization, and pest protection are in accordance with food safety regulations.
Staff from the Food and Drug Administration inspected the Lake Charles, LA, location of Anna’s Pies LLC Jan. 9-11 and discovered “serious violations,” according to a March 9 warning letter made public by the FDA in recent days.
“… your bakery products have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health,” according to the letter sent to company owner Carl W. Manuel.
“These conditions cause the bakery products produced at your facility to be adulterated within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”
Specific problems cited in the warning letter include:
- The firm failed to take effective measures to exclude pests from the processing areas and protect against the contamination of food on the premises by pests, specifically including:
- Approximately 120 apparent rodent excreta pellets (AREPs) located on shelves containing miscellaneous dry and canned goods. Approximately 40 AREPs, located on shelves containing miscellaneous dry and canned goods, underneath a table in the processing area. Approximately six live apparent fruit flies in the processing area during pie crust preparation, one dead apparent brown cockroach located inside a round bake pan, next to a pan filled with flour on a table, one dead apparent brown cockroach on the floor in the processing area near the roll down door, one dead apparent brown cockroach on the floor of the processing area in a corner near the pie wrapping machine, one dead apparent brown cockroach on the floor of the processing area near the firm’s pie and cake preparation tables, 11 dead apparent brown cockroaches on a glue trap, approximately 30 apparent cockroach excreta pellets underneath the bathroom sink, directly adjacent to the processing area, and approximately 50 apparent cockroach excreta pellets on the floor near the west side of a table.
- The firm failed to provide adequate screening or other protection against pests, specifically including:
- A hole, with an approximate 2-inch diameter, leading outside on the north wall of the processing area. An approximate 3-inch gap created from an uneven seal of the closed double screen door leading outside on the north wall of the processing area. An approximate 2-inch gap along the bottom of the screen door leading outside on the east wall of the processing area.
- The firm failed to properly store equipment and remove litter and waste that may constitute an attractant, breeding place, or harborage area for pests, within the immediate vicinity of the plant buildings or structures, specifically including:
- A set of pallets, tires, and miscellaneous items piled up near a fence, approximately 10 feet from the north side door. Three empty beverage containers, three empty cleaning agent containers, miscellaneous items, and trash on the north exterior patio about 3 feet from the north side door. Eight empty beverage containers and trash in an approximately 2-foot wide hole in the ground near the northwest corner.
- The firm failed to operate fans and other air-blowing equipment in a manner that minimizes the potential for contaminating food and food-contact surfaces, specifically including: An accumulation of dust and debris on the fan guard of an approximately 30-inch wide unit, which was in operation and being used to cool, exposed, ready-to-eat (RTE) pecan pies, strawberry cakes, lemon creme cakes, and sweet potato cakes. “The fan was located less than 1 inch away from the RTE pecan pies, strawberry cakes, lemon creme cakes, and sweet potato cakes staged in racks for cooling.”
- The design, materials and workmanship of utensils does not allow proper cleaning and maintenance, specifically a fiber from a basting mop was observed mixed into the grease on a bake pan used for baking cakes.
- The plant is not constructed in such a manner as to allow floors to be adequately cleaned and kept clean and kept in good repair, specifically multiple crevices and exposed aggregate in various areas of the processing floor. “The floor contained food debris in multiple locations and standing water in some crevices throughout the processing area.”
- The firm’s employees did not wash and sanitize hands thoroughly in an adequate hand-washing facility after each absence from the work station and at any time their hands may have become soiled or contaminated. Specifically, the investigator observed the following insanitary handwashing/sanitizing practices:
- An employee was observed wiping his forehead with his apron and later using his apron to dry his hands after washing them. The employee returned to placing icing on RTE cakes by hand without washing or sanitizing his hands in between contacts.
- An employee was observed handling an electrical wire coated with debris and residue. This employee returned to handling dough used for Pig in a Blankets without washing or sanitizing her hands in between contacts.
- An employee was observed answering the phone and returning to handling cake mix without washing or sanitizing his hands in between contacts.”
- The firm’s employees failed to wear beard covers where appropriate, specifically two employees working in the processing area were observed with facial hair and not wearing beard covers while handling cake mix, preparing sweet potato pies, and icing RTE cakes.
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.
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