The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Sun Valley Juice Company of Ketchum, Idaho to stop “receiving, processing, preparing, packing, holding, and distributing juice” until the agency determines that the company is in compliance with food safety laws and regulations. The company has been sent a letter ordering it to cease operations within five days. The company has compiled.
Several attempts were made to help the company comply with regulations before it was shut down. In 2006, a court-ordered agreement, called a consent decree, was signed by a federal judge. That agreement, between the FDA and Sun Valley Juice Company, stated that the company would establish and implement a hazard prevention plan. But FDA investigators have found the company has been out of compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and terms of the consent decree repeatedly.
Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associated commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a statement, “when a company repeatedly disobeys food safety laws and regulations, and does not stick to a court-ordered agreement designed to protect the public health, the FDA must use the full power of the courts to protect consumers.”
Sun Valley Juice Company does not pasteurize its juice, the company must have other steps in place to prevent pathogenic bacteria from contaminating its product. The consent decree and inspections were intended to insure that the company was taking those steps. But they did not do so. The company can resume operations when the FDA is assured it can abide by laws and regulations.
There are two outbreaks ongoing at this time involving unpasteurized juice. E. coli bacteria in High Hill Ranch unpasteurized apple juice has sickened at least seven people. And a cryptosporidium or E. coli outbreak has sickened at least 30 people after they consumed apple juice at the Pike County Fall Color Drive in Barry, Illinois. Produce is often contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. Then, when that fruit is processed into juice, the bacteria go all through the product.