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FDA orders cheese company to cease operations due to Listeria contamination

May 12, 2014
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A U.S. district court judge has entered a consent decree of permanent injunction between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and New York state-based Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese Company, LLC, after federal inspectors repeatedly asked the company to improve its manufacturing processes to prevent Listeria contamination of production.

The enforcement action means that the company cannot prepare, process, pack, hold or distribute food products at its facility until it has presented convincing evidence that sanitation control has been improved and it has developed a plan to eliminate Listeria monocytogenes from its plant, the FDA announced in a statement.

Under the terms of the consent decree, Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese Company has to ensure samples are collected and tested for the presence of Listeria by an independent laboratory and has to retain an independent sanitation expert. In addition, the company must destroy all products currently stored at the facility and ensure its employees are adequately trained to handle food products. If the FDA grants approval for operations at the facility to resume, all products could be subject to recall, should the regulator find such measures necessary.

Serious violations of safety and sanitation regulations have been detected at the Finger Lakes facility since the FDA's first inspection on-site, with a warning letter issued in October 2012, the statement said. So far, no illnesses linked to products manufactured, packed or distributed by the company have been reported.

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