April 23, 2018

U Joo Foods Enters into Consent Decree with FDA

U Joo Foods, a Chicago sprout grower and processor have entered into a consent decree of permanent injunction with the FDA. The company and its owner are “prohibited from processing and distributing food until they demonstrate to the FDA that the facility and processing equipment are suitable to prevent contamination in the food that they process, prepare, store, and handle. In addition, they must routinely test the water where the sprouts are grown for evidence of contamination.”

Sprouts are more likely to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria because of the way they are grown. In the fields, animals and birds can come into contact with the plants. In fact, many sprout seeds encapsulate bacteria as they grow. Then, when they are sprouted in warm, moist environments, bacteria can grow freely.

The FDA inspected U Joo Foods in 2012 to see if they had corrected violations found the previous year. FDA inspectors found that the facility was deficient in many areas, including “workers who did not sanitize their gloves prior to touching sprouts, inadequate toilet and hand washing facilities, and inadequate cleaning procedures evidence by residues of sprouts on the production equipment.”

Government inspectors also found the presence of Listeria welshimeri, a non-pathogenic bacteria in the same genus as Listeria monocytogenes at the facility. The company produced ready to eat sprouts distributed primarily in the Chicago area.

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