Smoked salmon producer faces listeria concerns, COVID-19 business decline
On top of losing significant foodservice business due to COVID-19, a U.S. smoked salmon producer has had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in remedying Listeria monocytogenes. found at its plant.
Wallkill, New York-based company Catsmo LLC, which supplies Daniel Boulud Smoked Salmon and several other varieties, was warned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late March about listeria samples found at its plant.
In a 25 March letter, FDA said its laboratory analysis of samples collected in November 2019 confirmed five of 78 environmental swabs were positive for listeria. The agency did not find listeria on any food products in the plant.
Catsmo recalled several lots of cold smoked salmon in December 2019 because it had the potential to be contaminated with listeria.
The recall of smoked salmon, distributed in 11 states through retail stores and direct delivery, is being made “out of an abundance of caution,” the supplier said in a press release at the time.
Catsmo invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to remedy the problems and recall product in December, Catsmo CFO Frederic Pothier told SeafoodSource.
“We closed the facility for production for a few days, to clean and remediate. We hired a company to come in. We recalled every product and made sure the facility was fully negative for listeria,” Pothier said. “We took swabs over and over, to make sure this never happens again.”
Catsmo also lost a “huge portion” of its business supplying hotels and restaurants due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the producer is still supplying retail accounts.
“The good news is we have a retail line, and people like our products,” Pothier said.
Catsmo has kept all its employees on board to date, and is complying with New York state production guidelines for COVID-19, which Pothier said have been changing frequently.