( Courtesy producemarketguide.com )

Fortune Food Product Inc., a Chicago sprout grower and maker of soy products, has agreed to shut down after the Food and Drug Administration issued its first injunction under the Produce Safety Rule.

A U.S. district judge approved the FDA’s injunction on Sept. 15 against the company, owner Steven Seeto and supervisor Tiffany Jiang, more than two years after the agency sent a warning letter detailing food safety violations regarding sprout growing and other processes at the company, according to a news release from the FDA.

It’s the first use of the power the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in 2011, gave the FDA in terms of forcing a company to cease production through the Produce Safety Rule.

The FDA has been in contact with the company since an inspection in January 2018 started a process that led to the warning letter in July of that year, when the agency detailed five specific violations of the Produce Safety Rule concerning mung bean sprouts.

According to the release, no illnesses were caused as a result of the violations found during FDA inspections. However, the complaint filed by U.S.

Department of Justice on behalf of the FDA notes the agency “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.”

Fortune Food Product agreed to stop production until it takes remedial actions to comply with food safety guidelines. The Sept. 15 consent decree prohibits Fortune Food Product to grow, harvest, pack and hold sprouts/soy products from any facility until the FDA agrees corrective actions have been taken.

“Manufacturing foods in violation of the Produce Safety Rule and Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations places consumers’ health at risk,” Stacy Amin, FDA chief counsel, said in the release. “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 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, among other things, take corrective actions and notify the FDA before such operations may resume.

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