In recent memory, I have not seen an FDA Warning Letter for Filth. We have seen rodent droppings, illegal drug residue, HACCP violations but not filth.
US Food Safety always errs on the side of caution and looks at the plant manufacturers and consumer issues before taking a stand. A Warning Letter for filth screams shut the place down. The FDA Warning Letter to The Nut Factory in Greenacres, Washington screams shut the place down. Consumers can get ill eating these products
Here are the Significant violations:
a. One dead rodent was observed partially inside a pest control trap along the north wall in the Finished Product Packaging and Storage area.
b. One dead rodent was observed on the floor along the north wall of the Maintenance Room. This room is adjacent to the processing area.
c. One dead rodent was observed in the northwest corner of the second floor loft above the offices. This loft area stores material for packaging.
d. Large numbers of rodent excreta pellets (REPs) were observed throughout your firm. For example;
i. REPs were observed on, under and around pallets in the Raw Ingredient Storage Area.
ii. REPs were observed on a pallet where an open case of Hickory Mesquite Seasoning was being stored.
iii. REPs were observed on the floor in the southeast comer of the Sunflower Room.
iv. REPs were observed on and next to decorative cardboard boxes used for packaging finished product and on clear plastic bags used for finished product packaging.
v. REPs were observed on the floor under a wire rack along the west wall of the Finished Product Storage Area.
vi. REPs were observed on the floor along the north wall of the Raw Ingredient Storage Area.
vii. REPs were observed under the stairs in the Receiving Area
viii. REPs were observed on a pallet and on the floor along the south wall of the Shipping Area.
ix. REPs were observed on the floor along the east wall and on shelving along the west wall of the Tin Room.
x. REPs were observed in the northwest comer of the second floor storage loft.
xi. REPs were observed inside a cardboard box containing plastic tin inserts.
xii. REPs were observed on the floor in the Maintenance Room.
xiii. REPs, food particles and other debris were observed accumulated in the northeast comer of the Receiving Area near the washer and dryer.
xiv. A REP was observed on the working surface of a heat sealing machine in the Packing Room
Also, the investigator found:
a. A greasy film was observed on three marble work surfaces in the Chocolate Room.
b. Two kettles in the Sugar Room were observed soiled with residue from the previous week’s production.
c. Metal pails and scoops in the Packaging Area were observed soiled with product residue.
d. Baskets in the oil roasters in the Roasting Room contained nuts and nut skins from production at least three days prior to the inspection.
e. The almond slicer used to slice roasted almonds was observed to have a thick product build-up following a cleaning process on 11/09/2012.
f. The popcorn maker in the Roasting Room was observed soiled with food debris from a previous production day.
g. Metal bins used to store raw and finished product were observed with food debris lodged in the crease at the base of the bins.
h. The tops and sides of plastic lids used to cover metal bins containing raw and finished product were observed with a layer of debris.
i. A scoop with food debris and a soiled terry cloth towel were used to collect nuts from the table and put them in a box during a repacking operation.
j. The sunflower roasting machine was observed with food residue on the inside of the machine, on the underside of the conveyor belt and in the space under the conveyor belt.
I understand that manufacturers are given a chance to clean up their act before a recall or a plant shutdown but really, this is just disgusting.