June 22, 2018

Sysco Pays $19.4 Million For Dangerous Food Storage Practices

Sysco Corporation, the world’s largest food distributor, has agreed to pay the State of California $19.4 million because the corporation stored meat, produce, and dairy in unrefrigerated and filthy outdoor storage units. Those products included raw meat, milk, and seafood. NBC San Francisco aired an investigative report last year about the illegal storage.

GavelsThe food that was stored in an unsafe manner was delivered to restaurants, hospitals, and schools. After the report aired, the California Department of Public Health investigated the company’s illegal practice. CDPH combed through Sysco’s records and found that more than 400,000 food products were stored at those sites from July 2009 to August 2013.

Temperatures in the area were at least 80°F during that period. Perishable foods should never be stored without refrigeration for two hours; one hour if the ambient air temperature is above 90°F. In addition to the unrefrigerated storage, sales people delivered the food in unrefrigerated cars. Sycso’s customers claim that they were not aware of these practices.

In total, there were 25 unregistered drop sites from Sacramento to San Diego. The food was stored for 23,287 cumulative days, and 156,740 food items were stored without any temperature control. Bacteria grow easily in temperatures between 40° and 140°F, doubling in just 20 minutes in perishable foods.

The fines are for restitution, contributions to food banks, and funding for a state program that will help health inspectors enforce food transportation laws. Sysco claims that the use of unrefrigerated drop sites was discontinued in September 2013.

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