The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has resolved criminal and civil actions against Delaware-based cheese manufacturer Roos Foods, Inc.
The company pleaded guilty to one criminal misdemeanor count of violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) by introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.
In addition, the company and two co-owners, Ana A. Roos and Virginia Mejia, entered into a civil agreement called a consent decree of permanent injunction. This means that Roos Foods or the two individuals may only produce and distribute food in the future if the FDA confirms that their operations comply with the FD&C Act and all applicable food safety regulations.
In 2013, cheese produced by Roos Foods was linked to an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) that sickened eight people, seven of whom were hospitalized.
FDA inspectors observed sanitation problems and found L. mono contamination in multiple places in the facility. The agency suspended Roos Foods’ facility registration in March 2014, barring the company from introducing food into interstate commerce.
“The FDA will not tolerate food companies that fail to provide adequate safeguards and place the public health at risk by producing and shipping contaminated products,” said Howard Sklamberg, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for Global Regulatory Operations and Policy. “We will continue to work with the Department of Justice to use the full force of our justice system against those that place profits over the health and safety of American consumers.”
“We must work to ensure that the food we buy is free from dangerous bacteria and is safe to eat,” added Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work aggressively to combat and deter conduct leading to the distribution of adulterated food to consumers.”