US seafood processor agrees to cease production after repeated food safety violations

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Court orders Michigan seafood and salad processor Home Style Foods to comply with food safety requirements or else.

The Department of Justice writes that Home Style Foods processed and distributed ready-to-eat seafood salads under insanitary conditions.

In a complaint filed on Jan. 13, 2020, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States alleged that defendants Home Style Foods, the company’s president, Michael J. Kowalski, and the company’s quality manager, Juan Valesquez, violated the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by processing and distributing fish products and other food, including salads, pierogis, and dips, in a facility where government inspectors previously found evidence of listeria contamination.

The complaint also alleged violations of seafood safety regulations designed to mitigate hazards associated with the processing of fish and fishery products. According to the complaint, the FDA issued a warning letter to Home Style Foods in April 2016.

Home Style Foods agreed to stop processing and distributing its products unless it complies with specific remedial measures set forth in the injunction.

“The Department of Justice is committed to safeguarding consumer health by rigorously enforcing America’s food safety laws,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue to work with FDA to ensure that companies take food sanitation and safety laws seriously.”

“Michigan’s food supply should always be safe, and that is why the Justice Department takes this case so seriously,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider for the Eastern District of Michigan. “There simply is no excuse for serving contaminated food products.”

“After repeated food safety violations, the FDA worked with DOJ to obtain this injunction in order to prevent potentially contaminated food from reaching consumers. The company failed to take the appropriate corrective actions resulting in this action,” said FDA Chief Counsel Stacy Cline Amin, J.D. “When a company fails to follow the law, the government will take action to protect the food supply.”