Processing Magazine

FDA requests permanent injunction against cheese maker

August 13, 2014
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A complaint has been filed against S. Serra Cheese Company of Clinton Township, Michigan, to prevent the distribution of allegedly adulterated cheese products.

At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint for permanent injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against S. Serra Cheese Company and its owners, Stefano Serra and Fina Serra.

The complaint alleges that the company's Italian cheeses are made in unsanitary conditions. It said that FDA laboratory testing conducted in 2013 found non-pathogenic E. coli in S. Serra Cheese's finished cheese products and Listeria innocua in the company's facility. According to the complaint, the presence of L. innocua indicates unsanitary conditions and an environment that could support the growth of L. monocytogenes, which causes listeriosis.

Moreover, the Department of Justice claimed that procedures at the facility are inadequate to ensure the safety of products made there. The FDA issued a warning letter to the company in June 2013 for failing to implement effective monitoring and sanitation controls in accordance with current "Good Manufacturing Practices."

The court was asked to issue an order for permanent injunction prohibiting the cheese maker from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding or distributing food until the company brings its operations into compliance with the law.

S. Serra Cheese manufactures and distributes a variety of pasteurized cheeses including ricotta, provolone, mozzarella and primo sale cheeses in Michigan, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania.

No illnesses associated with its products have been reported to date.