After 16 years of findings by the FDA that seafood products were processed and held under insanitary conditions, the U.S. Department of Justice has secured a ruling enjoining Irvington Seafood Inc. from further distribution of certain crab meat products.

A federal court issued the permanent injunction against the company’s owner Kevin S. Sakprasit, and company officers Helene Nou and Kammie C. Richardson. The claims resolved by the resolution are only allegations. There has been no determination of liability.

The court action comes almost a year after the company issued a recall for some of its crab products because of FDA findings. The potential for contamination was noted on May 27, 2022, after the Food and Drug Administration tested the crab on May 9. The FDA revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes on cooking equipment and in a cooking room.

In the injunction announcement the complaint was cited as having alleged that between 2006 and 2022, multiple FDA inspections of the defendants’ facility revealed that they prepared, packaged, and held crabmeat products under insanitary conditions and failed to comply with required current good manufacturing practices and seafood hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) regulations. 

According to the complaint, during inspections of the defendants’ facility FDA inspectors found, among other things: the presence of maggots, flies, and roaches; the presence of the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes on food contact and non-food contact surfaces of equipment; and that employees were failing to properly wash their hands and aprons. Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious illness and even death, particularly in vulnerable groups, such as newborns, the elderly and people with impaired immune systems.

The complaint alleges that the defendants failed to take necessary corrective actions after repeated FDA warnings.

“Food manufacturers and distributors must operate in strict compliance with the law,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The department is committed to working hand in hand with the FDA to help ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply.”

The injunction announcement said the company distributed its products throughout the United States.

The company officials agreed to settle the suit and be bound by a consent decree of a permanent injunction. The court order requires that they destroy all raw ingredients and food products currently in their possession. Before processing or distributing any food in the future, the defendants must notify the FDA in advance, comply with specific remedial measures set forth in the injunction, and permit the FDA to inspect their facilities and procedures.

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