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FDA Shuts Down Hope Food Supply

May 19, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today directed Hope Food Supply Inc., a Pasadena, Texas, food processor, to shut down and immediately recall all products manufactured from its Texas facility since 2007 due to possible food contaminant risks.  The move was made due to Hope Food’s failure to follow a previous consent decree.

The company—under a different name—manufactured dried smoked catfish steaks and other smoked seafood products and was subject to a consent decree of permanent injunction that required it to develop and implement an adequate Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for its fish and fishery products.  The firm never developed this plan, has been shut down because no plan was developed and submitted to the FDA, and is not permitted to resume operations until it implements an FDA-approved HACCP plan.

Hope Food Supply's HACCP violations pose a public health hazard because, without adequate controls, its seafood products could harbor pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes.  "We simply will not allow a company to put the public's health at risk by not implementing adequate procedures and plans to produce safe food," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.  "The FDA will take action against companies and against their executives who violate the law and endanger public health."

The FDA's HACCP regulations require all seafood processors develop and implement adequate HACCP plans that identify all food safety hazards likely to occur for every seafood product that they process.  Seafood processors are also required to set forth preventative measures to control such hazards.

Hope Food Supply’s products have been distributed nationwide and the FDA is advising consumers who bought smoked seafood products to check with the place of purchase to determine if the products originated from Hope Foods.  If so, consumers are advised to dispose of the products by placing them in a trash receptacle.  Consumers who have eaten Hope Seafood Supply's dried smoked catfish or other smoked seafood products and have experienced adverse reactions should consult their health care professional; consumers and health care professionals should report such events to the FDA consumer complaint coordinator in their geographic area.  For more information, consumers can call the FDA's toll-free Food Safety Hotline at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.

Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning generated by the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria and is dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, those with chronic medical conditions, people with HIV, or those who are undergoing chemotherapy.  Most experience only mild flu like symptoms—fever, muscle aches, nausea, or diarrhea.  In serious cases, the disease spreads to the nervous system, causing headaches, stiff neck, and convulsions.  In pregnant women, Listeriosis can result in miscarriage or stillbirth.  Listeria lives in soil, stream water, sewage, plants, and food and can easily contaminate food products; listeria thrives in cold environments.

Staphylococcus aureus is a form of staph that has recently mutated into what is now called MRSA—Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.  When not treated early, MRSA is resistant to all but the one antibiotic of last resort.

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