FDA Seizes Tuna Salad Sandwiches

At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Marshals just seized tuna salad sandwiches and other food products from Bearden Sandwich Company Inc., which was doing business as Southern Belle Sandwich Company, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The company distributes products to convenience and retail stores in southern Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; Montgomery, Alabama; and Crestview, Florida.

The seized products, which totaled more than $72,000, violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) because the products have been prepared, packed, and held under unsanitary conditions and may have become <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to the public’s health. According to the Act, the term “insanitary” is used to describe such conditions). The seized tuna fish salad sandwiches were also processed under conditions that violate Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations.

“When FDA investigators find violations inside a company’s facility, we will do what is necessary to keep insanitary and potentially harmful products out of consumers’ hands,” said Michael Chappell, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “Companies that are not complying with our laws will be subject to enforcement actions,” he added.

Recent FDA inspections found evidence of widespread and active rodent and insect infestation, filthy conditions, and poor employee practices, such as allowing food-processing utensils to lie on the floor near live insects.

Food safety concerns were recently heightened following the massive salmonella outbreak linked to horrendous conditions at the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). Although a number of other deadly and widespread outbreaks have plagued the nation in recent years, it was the disgusting conditions and ongoing negligence involved in the PCA debacle that forced serious food safety reform. The scandals revealed during the outbreak highlighted myriad problems with current food safety processes and prompted attention from President Obama, said the Washington Post recently, who called for an FDA and food safety system overhaul.

The FDA has not received reports of illnesses associated with consumption of the products, to date, but does urge consumers who may have purchased the products to dispose of them in a safe manner and wash their hands thoroughly after handling the products. “Safe disposal” means avoiding bare-hand contact with the recalled products, discarding them in a way that will not allow people and pets to retrieve them, and washing items that came in contact with the products, including hands, with warm, soapy water. Consumers can also report problems, including adverse reactions, to the FDA district office consumer complaint coordinator. Coordinator information can be accessed here.

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