US court shuts down Alabama seafood processor over sanitation issues

The U.S. Department of Justice

A U.S. federal court has ordered Irvington, Alabama, U.S.A.-based Irvington Seafood to stop distributing seafood following more than a decade of sanitation violations.

Under the court’s order, the company is required to “destroy all raw ingredients and food products currently in their possession.”

Before restarting food processing operations, the Alabama-based company will have to notify the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allow inspections, and take other remedial measures laid out by the court.

“Food manufacturers and distributors must operate in strict compliance with the law,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in an 11 May statement. “The department is committed to working hand in hand with the FDA to help ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply.”

Multiple FDA inspections between 2006 and 2022 found that the company was preparing, packaging, and storing crabmeat products under insanitary conditions, according to a civil complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama on 25 April, 2023. Inspectors discovered the presence of maggots, flies, cockroaches, and Listeria monocytogenes bacteria on food contact and non-food contact surfaces. They also found employees were failing to properly wash their hands and aprons.

Listeria can cause serious illness if newborns or immuno-compromised individuals and can even lead to death. In June 2022, the company was forced to recall crabmeat products shipped to distributors located in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi after the FDA discovered listeria monocytogenes on cooking equipment.

Irvington Seafood failed to comply with required current good manufacturing practices and seafood hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) regulations, and failed to take corrective actions despite numerous warnings, according to the complaint. 

Irvington Seafood Owner Kevin Sakprasit opted to settle the case, agreeing to comply with the court’s injunction and avoiding a determination of liability.

Photo courtesy of blvdone/Shutterstock


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