Food processing violations have prompted the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama to order an Alabama-based seafood company to cease operations until the company complies with US Food and Drug Administration regulations.
The consent decree was sought after the US Food and Drug Administration documented what they termed in a prepared statement as “serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and of Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for foods.” The consent decree prohibits BEK Catering, LLC, from receiving, processing, manufacturing, preparing, packing, holding or distributing food until it comes into compliance with FDA requirements.
The FDA conducted multiple inspections between September 2011 and April 2015. FDA officials said in the statement that investigators observed repeated deviations from HACCP requirements. The seafood HACCP regulations are intended to ensure the safety of fish and fishery products, and they prescribe a set of requirements that must be followed by seafood processors. Under these regulations, processors must conduct, or have conducted for them, hazard analyses to identify any food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur during processing of each type of seafood.
“When a company fails to provide an adequate plan for preventing food safety hazards from occurring in their facility, they are putting the public at risk,” Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs said in a prepared statement. “It is the job of the FDA to oversee that seafood businesses have adequate controls in place for the products they produce. When adequate preventive controls are not in place, we must take action to prevent potentially harmful food from entering the food supply.”
The company will not be permitted to operate until they are compliant with federal food regulations. As part of the consent decree, the owners represented that they are no longer processing fish and fishery products. In order to resume seafood processing operations, BEK Catering LLC must notify FDA in writing 90 days in advance, comply with remedial measures specified in the decree and be subject to FDA inspection, along with other requirements. Some of those requirements include hiring an independent HACCP expert who is qualified to determine whether the company’s methods, processes and controls comply with regulations, conducting an employee training program and notifying the FDA in writing of its HACCP plans. The company must also destroy, under FDA supervision, all seafood products in their custody.
No gastrointestinal illnesses have been reported in connection with BEK Catering LLC. Consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.