Feds Seek Injunction Against Listeria Salad MakerAug 4, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
Food safety regulators are seeking a permanent injunction against NY Gourmet Salads Inc., a processor of ready-to-eat deli salads, seafood salads, and cream cheeses. According to the US Justice Department, the Brooklyn, New York company and its President violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by introducing food that was prepared, packed, or held under unsanitary conditions that may have become contaminated with filth.
Last April, NY Gourmet Salads recalled 60 pounds of its 5-pound tubs of Chick Pea Salad because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. The most serious forms of listeriosis can result in meningitis and septicemia. Pregnant women may contract flu-like symptoms from listeriosis, and complications from the disease can result in miscarriage, or septicemia in the newborn.
The Justice Department, in an action initiated by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), is seeking a permanent injunction against NY Gourmet Salads, Inc. in a complaint filed July 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. FDA inspections have documented insanitary conditions at NY Gourmet’s facility and a failure to follow applicable FDA regulations concerning the production of food and seafood products. According to the complaint, the company promised to address and correct deficiencies following inspections in 2006, 2007, and 2009, but the FDA’s most recent inspection in March 2010 confirmed that the company continued to operate without adequate controls.
The complaint says that recent FDA testing has found Listeria monocytogenes throughout New York Gourmet Salads’ facility and in a sample of finished product. The complaint also says that the strain of Listeria found in a sample of the company’s chickpea salad in 2010 was indistinguishable from the strain of found in the defendants’ facility during a 2009 inspection, indicating that the Listeria had likely formed a lasting presence in the defendants’ facility.
“Based on their longstanding pattern of conduct, defendants, unless restrained by order of this court, will continue to manufacture and distribute articles of food in violation” of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the complaint said.
NY Gourmet Salads sells its products to customers in New York and New Jersey, including a New Jersey gourmet supermarket with locations in Brick and Freehold, and an airline caterer in Jamaica, N.Y.