Alfred Louie, Inc., has been ordered to stop processing and distributing food until it cleans up unsanitary conditions found by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors.
Laboratory testing by the FDA in April and May 2013 revealed Listeria monocytogenes in the firm’s sprouts and in the facility but no illnesses were reported.
FDA said it repeatedly advised Alfred Louie Inc. of the unsanitary conditions.
Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr approved a consent decree of permanent injunction against the firm and owners, Gordon Louie and Victor Louie, for contamination in the sprouts and facility and other violations.
Under the consent decree, the defendants cannot process or distribute food until they demonstrate that the facility and processing equipment are suitable to prevent contamination in the food that they process, prepare, store and handle.
The defendants must retain an independent laboratory to collect and analyze samples for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, retain an independent sanitation expert and develop a program to control the pathogen and to eliminate unsanitary conditions at its facility.
The Bakersfield, California company receives, processes, manufactures, prepares, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat mung bean and soybean sprouts and wheat flour noodles.
It also packs and/or distributes various dry, refrigerated and frozen food items, such as flour, nuts, rice, tea and spices received from other manufacturers.
Once the company is permitted to resume operations, the FDA may require it to recall products or cease production if the agency discovers future violations of food safety practices.
FDA inspections since 2000 have documented deficiencies in Alfred Louie Inc.’s processing facility.
The agency said they sent a warning letter to the firm in February this year after an inspection in September and October 2012.
It acknowledged a response dated 21 October 2012 with some corrective measures but said was inadequate as it “provided no documentation such as records, invoices, or photos as evidence of your compliance”.