FDA takes action against ‘unsanitary conditions’ at RZM Food Factory

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Mung bean sprouts. Picture: Flickr / Crispin Semmens
Mung bean sprouts. Picture: Flickr / Crispin Semmens

Related tags Sanitation

A distributor and processor of sprouts has stopped operations after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) repeatedly found unsanitary conditions during inspections.

RZM Food Factory prepared, packed, and held ready-to-eat mung bean, alfalfa, radish and clover sprouts with distribution in Hawaii.

After FDA investigators found unsanitary conditions during previous inspections, the owner agreed to make changes in production operations, but the agency said it repeatedly found the problems.

Show compliance

William H. Oshiro, owner of RZM Food Factory, agreed to stop processing and distributing food until he demonstrates to the FDA that the facility and practices comply with federal food safety requirements.

He must also retain an independent sanitation expert and develop a program to eliminate unsanitary conditions at the plant.

FDA said it had received no reports of illnesses associated with RZM Food Factory products.

Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said the agency repeatedly advised RZM Food Factory of unsanitary conditions at the facility.

“If and when the company is permitted to resume operations, the FDA plans to continue monitoring its operations and may require the company to recall products or cease production if the agency discovers future violations of food safety practices.”

The consent decree of permanent injunction was signed by a federal judge and entered in the US District Court of Hawaii on December 11.

Warning letter last year

In October last year, the FDA sent a warning letter to the firm after an inspection in June.

You told our investigator that sprout trays, utensils and processing equipment that come into direct contact with sprouts are not washed or sanitized, but simply rinsed. The material used to line one of the sprout growing trays was cracked and uneven, with visible sprout residue​,” said the agency in the letter.

The tank used to hold and distribute irrigation water for your ready-to-eat sprout growing process is corroded with visible flaking rust, and is placed directly beneath the roof, open and unprotected from pests.

“The condition of the tank is such that the water supply may have become contaminated with harmful bacteria or extraneous matter.”​ 

FDA said its investigator documented containers filled with water scattered on the floor and empty cardboard boxes inside and outside the facility.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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