Los Angeles seafood company shut down over safety concerns
A U.S. federal court on Monday ordered a Los Angeles seafood company to cease operations after product recalls, repeated warnings over food safety violations and most recently the presence of the Listeria bacteria in its processing facilities.
L.A. Star Seafood Co., which processes and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured seafood products did not adequately clean surfaces or cutting utensils, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which had documented a pattern of unsanitary conditions at the company's facility.
FDA inspectors discovered contamination by Listeria monocytogenes – the bacteria that cause listeriosis – on the company’s processing room floor and on food-contact surfaces, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Listeriosis can cause fever and muscle aches, gastrointestinal symptoms and, in serious cases, death. FDA filed a complaint against the company in January.
“L.A. Star Seafood was repeatedly informed that the sanitation practices at its facility were deficient,” said acting Assistant Atty. Gen. Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
To date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with L.A. Star Seafood. Owners Sima and Sam Goldring must demonstrate to FDA officials that they can process food in compliance with federal food safety laws and regulations, and control for the presence of Listeria and Clostridium botulinum, before allowing to resume operations.
“The FDA takes legal action to protect the public’s health when it is necessary,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “This consent decree represents an agreement between the FDA and L.A. Star to ensure that if and when they reopen for business, they will be producing food that meets food safety requirements.”