Permanent Injunction Issued Against Seafood Processor Following Years of Warnings, Complaints

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) complaint filed  last June has finally resulted in a a permanent injunction against seafood processor Captain’s Select Products, the Associate Press (AP) is reporting.

Captain’s Select Seafood Inc. has been repeatedly warned over many years regarding ongoing violations and inadequate food safety hazard and prevention plans, said the AP.  The Minnesota federal court issued the permanent injunction on February 17, and it  was announced yesterday by the FDA.  The FDA said Captain’s Select “packaged, held, and distributed a variety of fresh, frozen and ready-to-eat fish products from suppliers in Florida, Maine, Maryland, and Massachusetts,” based on the original complaint.

According to the AP, the  first FDA complaint filed in June 2008 accused Captain’s Select of not having adequate plans for identifying and preventing food safety hazards.  It said  that the paperwork violations took place from 2004 through at least early 2008.  Following inspections, Captain’s Select was continually warned, the AP said.

The June complaint included not just Captain’s Select, but two of its top officers, for violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).  The June action by the FDA followed an extensive history of Captain’s Select violating the FD&C Act as well as violating the agency’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations.  FDA’s HAACP regulations require all seafood processors develop and implement adequate plans that identify all food safety hazards likely to occur for each kind of seafood product and that such plans contain preventative measures the processor can implement to control those hazards.

Now, Captain’s Select is unable to resume business unless it obtains FDA or federal court sign-off on its long-requested paperwork.  Tom Kane, Captain’s Select attorney said that the permanent injunction is “meaningless,” and that he believed Captain’s Select had properly completed its paperwork, but that the company has been out of business since last year, following the original complaint, reported the AP.  The initial complaint followed a prior warning in February 2006 in which violations dating back to April 2004 were documented.

Although Captain’s Select’s attorney might choose to minimize the issue, the HACCP violations documented by the FDA pose a public health hazard because, without adequate controls, products handled by Captain’s Select Seafood could harbor pathogenic bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/listeria">Listeria monocytogenes.  Food products with these kinds of pathogens can result in serious illnesses, widespread outbreaks, and death.

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