FDA and L.A. Star Seafood enter into Consent Decree

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered L. A. Star Seafood Company to stop processing and distributing smoked, salt-cured and pickled seafood products until they improve their sanitary conditions and work as per the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The Los Angeles food processor and distributor was given the orders as links were found between its ready-to-eat smoked and pickled fish and listeriosis and botulism. The prosecutors were of the view that the manufacturer has been targeted earlier as well by inspectors with the US Food and Drug Administration.

Last Thursday, US District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald entered into a consent decree of permanent injunction (PDF) against the company and its owners, Sam and Sima Goldring.

As per the complaint filed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), unsanitary conditions at the plants led to deviation from good manufacturing practices. Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the DOJ's Civil Division affirmed that repeatedly, L. A. Star Seafood was informed that the sanitation at its facility was not up to the mark.

"The failure to actively plan for and control the presence of bacteria and neurotoxins commonly found in seafood processing facilities can pose a serious risk to the public health", said Mizer.

In 2012, the company on the request of the FDA recalled some of its products being at risk of potential contamination. In 2013, the FDA conducted inspection at the L. A. Star facility and a warning letter was sent to the company.

The letter had detailed steps that the company must take to comply with the federal health requirements. In the following year, one more inspection of the facility took place and it also revealed about the owners' continued failure to comply with the law.

Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said the decree is an agreement between the FDA and L. A. Star to ensure if and when they reopen for business, they will produce food that meets the food safety requirements.