FDA sends warning letter to salmon smoker former MEP

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“We found that you have serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation,” said United States Food and Drug Administration to London salmon smoker H Forman and Son.

One of the UK’s most well-known salmon smokers H Forman and Son (producers of London Cure smoked Scottish salmon) has received a warning letter from the FDA.

In the letter, sent in May, the authority wrote that it inspected its smoked salmon processing facility, located at Fish Island, Stour Road London, in February.

H Forman and Son is Britain’s oldest original salmon curer and the world’s oldest producer of smoked salmon.

“During that inspection, we found that you have serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation, Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 123 (21 CFR 123). At the conclusion of the inspection, the FDA investigator issued an FDA 483, Inspectional Observations, listing the observations made at your firm. We acknowledge receipt of your response sent via email on March 19, 2020. However, our evaluation of your response revealed it was not adequate because it did not include a revised HACCP plan, monitoring records, or an explanation of your corrective actions,” it wrote.

Former Brexit Party MEP Forman told SalmonBusiness that the reason for the warning “was not because of breach of regulations”.

“The reason for the warning was because we had not responded by the deadline to a routine enquiry. And the reason for that is that our food safety manager has been self isolating as a vulnerable person hence the delay,” he said.

The salmon smoker explained that any exporter to the USA has to have their premises and operation inspected by the FDA every three years and their rules are different to UK (or EU) – generally stricter.

“For example USA has zero tolerance to listeria whereas EU allows tolerable levels. Maybe this requirement for inspections would evaporate if we do a trade deal with the USA,” said the Brexit-supporting businessman.

Lance added that “nothing is in dispute and we are responding to the FDA accordingly”. For example, one recommendation was that FDA inspectors want to see independent tests of the water where the salmon purchased are farmed.

“The recommendations were not about our food safety, they were about evidencing our food safety, which in today’s litigious world, especially in the USA, is fair enough,” he explained.

Is this a concern for the business?

“As the modifications requested were very straightforward and we agree with them all in any event, no one likes to receive warnings and we apologised for the original delay which is why the time was extended with a warning that should respond by the extended deadline.

“Were it not for Covid-19 the warning would not have been sent in the first place. Like most businesses supplying the hospitality industry, we have lost 95% of our wholesale customers in the last ten weeks. These are challenging times and our focus has been on how best to survive it,” he concluded.