The Department of Justice has ordered San Francisco-based Kun Wo Food Products Inc. to stop processing and distributing food until the company can demonstrate it is in compliance with federal food safety laws.
Federal prosecutors filed the complaint in United States District Court for the Northern District of California at the request of FDA, which reportedly documented violations of federal food safety laws at the establishment. The court entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against the company and its co-owners, Zi Xing Liu and Zi Chen Liu in late April.
According to the complaint filed with the consent decree, FDA inspections at Kun Wo in 2015 and 2016 found unsanitary conditions in which noodles may have become contaminated. Listeria monocytogenes were found in the environment and on buckets, and the company’s rice noodles were also at risk of contamination from Bacillus cereus, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus, according to FDA.
Food safety inspectors allegedly observed employees being allowed to touch the food without cleaning their hands after handling dirty machinery and equipment. FDA says the company also failed to take adequate measures to protect food against the risk of contamination from other sources, including pests and condensation.
After the FDA’s 2015 inspection, officials say Kun Wo made inadequate and unsuccessful corrections to its processes and facility issues. The FDA conducted an additional inspection in 2016 and found continuing and ongoing violations of current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations.
Under the consent decree, if Kun Wo intends to resume operations, it must give the FDA at least 90 days’ advance notice and fulfill other requirements before the company can begin operating. Kun Wo must, among other things, retain an independent expert to develop a pathogen control program, retain an independent laboratory to conduct analyses of both the environment and food products, and provide employee training on sanitary food handling techniques.