Court order closes sprouts distributor

12/02/2013 05:04:00 PM
Mike Hornick

A history of unsanitary conditions that includes a positive test for listeria in sprouts last spring prompted a court order that ends processing and distribution at Bakersfield, Calif.-based Alfred Louie Inc. until its facility is cleaned up.

Judge Garland Burrell, Jr. of the Eastern District of California approved a consent decree of permanent injunction against the company and its owners, Gordon Louie and Victor Louie, for contamination in sprouts and their facility, among other violations.

Since 2000, U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors documented multiple deficiencies at the company, according to a news release. In April and May, FDA laboratory testing found listeria in Alfred Louie sprouts and at its facility. No illnesses were reported.

Among other services, Alfred Louie Inc. processes, manufactures, packs and distributes mung bean and soybean sprouts and wheat flour noodles. The company also packs or distributes various dry, refrigerated and frozen food items.

With the consent decree, the company and its owners cannot process or distribute food until they demonstrate the facility is suitable to prevent contamination. Conditions include retaining an independent laboratory to collect and analyze samples for listeria; retaining an independent sanitation expert; and developing a program to control listeria and establish a sanitary setting.

“Companies have a responsibility to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat and is made in accordance with federal law,” Melinda Plaisier, FDA associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in the release. “When a company continues to produce food that presents a risk for consumers, the FDA will take whatever steps necessary to protect public health.”



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