F.D.A. takes action against Haifa Smoked Fish

by Food Safety Monitor Staff
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SILVER SPRING, MD. — The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York for permanent injunction against Haifa Smoked Fish Inc. of Jamaica, N.Y., and two of the company’s top officers for food safety violations.

“This company has consistently failed to make corrections to improve the unsanitary conditions under which it processes its smoked fish products, despite frequent warnings to do so,” said Michael Chappell, the F.D.A.’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The F.D.A. will not tolerate food companies that fail to provide adequate safeguards to protect the public.”

A person who answered the phone at the company said no one was available to comment on the court action.

If the court grants the injunction, the company would be forced to stop the manufacture, distribution and sale of its products until it has implemented measures to correct unsanitary conditions and control Listeria monocytogenes, the F.D.A. said. Haifa Smoked Fish processes and distributes brined, cold-smoked, and hot-smoked fish and fishery products.

The agency and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets have inspected the Haifa Smoked Fish facility on numerous occasions since 2001, according to the F.D.A. The inspections allegedly revealed unsanitary conditions that may lead to Listeria contamination in the finished product.

The F.D.A. said analyses of samples taken during the inspections showed food products and food-contact surfaces were contaminated with Listeria. The agency also alleged that the company failed to comply with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point regulations. The F.D.A. said the company was issued warning letters in 2001 and again in 2004. Company officers said corrections would be made, but subsequent inspections showed the company did not make the corrections, the agency said. FSM
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