July 15, 2024

Unsanitary Conditions at S. Serra Cheese Co Prompt Injunction from DOJ

Lack of action to address unsanitary conditions at S. Serra Cheese Company of Clinton Township, Michigan, has prompted action from the  U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to block the company from distributing cheese. The DOJ filed a civil complaint against the company on August 8.

Soft CheesesThe complaint alleges that the Italian cheese the company makes are produced in unsanitary conditions and the company does take adequate measures to ensure the food safety of its products. “The presence of potentially harmful pathogens in food and processing facilities poses a serious risk to the public health,” said Assistant Attorney General Delery.  “The Department of Justice will continue to bring enforcement actions against food manufacturers who do not follow the necessary procedures to comply with food safety laws.”

According to the complaint, in 2013 inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found the products o be “adulterated” meaning they were “prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions in which it may have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health.”  But the company has repeatedly failed to reduce the risk of contamination from dangerous bacteria, the complaint alleges.

Trial Attorney Dan Baeza of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Caplan for the Eastern District of Michigan, with the assistance of Assistant Chief Counsel for Enforcement Christopher Fanelli of the Food and Drug Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Health and Human Services are representing the government.



  1. From what I understand they are still open and distributing their product. How would you interpret this action? How long does the FDA take to close down an operation like this?

    • Linda Larsen says

      To permanently close a facility takes a court action, which is complicated. If they are still open, I would hope the FDA is inspecting them frequently.

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