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Monday, May 27, 2024 | Back issues
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Sanitation Lapses Land Egg Roll Maker in Fryer

HOUSTON (CN) - A federal judge shut down production at an egg-roll processor and importer accused of preparing food under filthy conditions and shutting out the Food and Drug Administration.

Chung's Products exposed its egg rolls to unwashed hands, dirty water hoses, and air-conditioner condensation, according to FDA observations between 2005 and 2009.

At the company's Houston production facility, FDA inspectors noted a buildup of debris and ice on the freezer floor, in addition to "an oily brown substance running up and down the walls of the cooler used to store egg roll components, and a black mold-like substance on a cooler shelf," according to the U.S. government's complaint.

The government sued Chung's in March 2010, along with its president of operations, Charlie Kujawa, and the director of quality of assurance, Gregory Birdsell, taking issue specifically with conditions that affect the production of shrimp egg rolls.

U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon found "a cognizable danger of future violations" and granted the government a permanent injunction last week.

The injunction bars Chung's from processing food until the FDA finds that they have complied with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

FDA officials accused Chung's of withholding sanitation records, as well as documentation for egg rolls that it imported from China.

Chung's allegedly failed to include Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria responsible for botulism, in its Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), a plan required of seafood processors.

FDA investigators also observed problems with Chung's controls for Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus and metal detection.

"Defendants have repeatedly flouted FDA observations and failed repeatedly to provide adequate documentation regarding sanitation and required controls for C. botulinum, or an adequate hazard analysis justifying its exclusion as required by 21 C.F.R. § 123," Harmon wrote. "The government demonstrated a persistent strain of L. mono is present in Chung's factory from 2005 to 2009. Rather than cooperate with the FDA to resolve this problem, Chung's raised implausible objections to the FDA's testing procedures. Based on Chung's record of noncompliance, the court finds a cognizable danger of future violations necessitating a permanent injunction."

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