FDA successfully prosecutes sprout firm for insanitary operations
This action by the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois represents the first instance of permanent injunction against a firm or grower for violating public safety standards as mandated by the Produce Safety Rule enacted under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that Fortune Food Product, Inc., an Illinois-based processor of sprouts and soy products, has agreed to halt operations until it undertakes remedial action and complies with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The action came after the FDA conducted multiple inspections and documented insanitary conditions showing that sprouts and soy products may have become contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to health.
This is the first consent decree of permanent injunction against a firm or grower for violating public safety standards under the Produce Safety Rule enacted under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. The Produce Safety Rule states, among other requirements, that covered sprout operations take measures to prevent the introduction of dangerous microbes into seeds or beans used for sprouting; test spent sprout irrigation water (or, in some cases, in-process sprouts) for the presence of certain pathogens; test the growing, harvesting, packing and holding environment for the presence of the Listeria species or Listeria monocytogenes; and take corrective actions when needed.
The FDA found that the company failed to comply with Produce Safety and Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations. In July 2018, the FDA sent a warning letter detailing the company’s precise food safety violations.
US District Judge, John Robert Blakey, in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered the consent decree of permanent injunction on 15 September 2020 between the US and Fortune Food Product, Inc., its majority owner Steven Seeto and its supervisor Tiffany Jiang.
“Manufacturing foods in violation of the Produce Safety Rule and Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations places consumers’ health at risk,” said FDA Chief Counsel Stacy Amin. “This action demonstrates the agency’s commitment to pursuing and taking swift action against those who repeatedly disregard these food safety standards and distribute adulterated foods.”
[The FDA] documented insanitary conditions showing that sprouts and soy products may have become contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to health.
The consent decree prohibits the defendants from growing, harvesting, packing and holding sprouts and soy products at or from their facility, or any other facility, until certain requirements are met. The consent decree requires the defendants to take corrective actions and notify the FDA before they resume operations.
The FDA is not aware of any confirmed illnesses related to Fortune Food’s products. However, consumers who think they may have become ill from ingesting these products should seek the assistance of a health care professional and contact the FDA to report problems with this or any FDA-regulated product.