Just a year ago, U.S. District Judge Kristi K. DuBose signed an order stopping Irvington Seafood of Irvington, AL, from continuing in business. But this week, Food Safety News reported that Irvington Seafood was recalling its 1-pound packages of “Crabmeat: Jumbo, Lump, Finger, and Claw meat” because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

How did a court-closed company come back so quickly?

In the 24-page order, called a “Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction,” Judge DuBose closed Irvington Seafood down but also provided instructions if the company wanted to return to business.

The order closing Irvington Seafood came after 16 years of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) findings that the company processed and held seafood products under insanitary conditions. The U.S. Department of Justice sought to enjoin Irvington Seafood from further distributing its crab meat products.

The permanent injunction issued a year ago fell on company owner Kevin S. Sakprasit and officers Helene Nou and Kammie C. Richardson.  That court order came almost a year after the company issued a recall for some of its crab products because of FDA findings. 

The potential for contamination was recorded on May 27, 2022, after the. FDA tested the crab on May 9, 2022. The FDA found Listeria monocytogenes on Irvington’s cooking equipment and in a cooking room.

Last year’s court order said that between 2006 and 2022, multiple FDA inspections of the Irvington Seafood facility found crabmeat being prepared, packaged, and held under insanitary conditions and failing to comply with required current good manufacturing practices and seafood hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) regulations.

FDA inspections 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 wash their hands and aprons properly. 

A year ago, it was said that the Alabama seafood company had failed to take “necessary corrective actions” after repeated FDA warnings.

Kevin Sakprasit, the owner of Irvington Seafood, agreed to the terms of the Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction.  However, while the order halted his business, it also provided a detailed plan for resuming operations.

Among other things, the order said if Irvington Seafood obtained the services of an independent laboratory with no personal or financial ties to the company, along with independent experts, to build a Listeria Monitoring Program it could reopen. The company must conduct a hazard analysis program to the FDA’s satisfaction to get back on track.

An HACCP plan and numerous other programs had to be developed to satisfy the FDA, including sanitation control and environmental monitoring.  Also, it was required to implement employee training programs on food safety to FDA’s satisfaction.

According to the order, Irvington Seafood was required to undergo a comprehensive inspection by its outside experts.  It was also necessary to destroy any in-processed and finished articles of food that were in their custody.

When resuming operations, the company was required to immediately implement its HACCP, SSOP, and Listeria Monitoring Program. FDA could determine that Irvington Seafood is failing to comply and take certain actions.

Most of the 24-page order are those detailed instructions for how the company can resume its business, which presumedly were followed by Irvington Seafood in getting back into business during the past year.

However, just as in the year before the Permanent injunction, the company is in the middle of a recall of its crabmeat for Listeria contamination.  The recalled product is:

  • “Crabmeat: Jumbo, Lump, Finger, and Claw meat”

The product comes in a 1-pound tub package marked with license number AL 111-C with the company name “Irvington Seafood.”  No illnesses have yet been associated with the recall. The recalled “Crabmeat: Jumbo, Lump, Finger, and Claw meat” was distributed to distributors located in Alabama and Mississippi. Products may end up in retail seafood markets or restaurants.

Finish Product Testing results on May 17, 2024, from EMSL Analytical Inc. found crabmeat processed on May 12, 2024, Batch #133,  testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes.  Of  94 samples taken on May 13, 2024, 23 samples of Jumbo, 24 samples of Lump, 24 samples of Fingers, and 23 samples of Claw meat. Based on the lab report, 12 samples of Claw meat, and 2 samples of Fingers that were positive for Listeria..

The production of the product has been suspended while the FDA and the company continue to investigate the source of the problem.

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