October 16, 2018

Judge Signs Injunction Against Wholesome Soy

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel for the Northern District of Illinois signed a consent decree of permanent injunction against Wholesome Soy Products and their owners. The owners, Paul and Julia Trinh, signed the document on April 5, 2015. The decree prevents them from distributing adulterated mung bean and soybean sprouts.

Bean SproutsPrincipal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division said in a statement, “we must work to ensure that the food we buy from store shelves is safe and produced under sanitary conditions. The Department of Justice will continue to work with our partners at FDA to accomplish that goal.”

Wholesome Soy products are linked to a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak this past fall. Five people were sickened, and two people died after consuming contaminated sprouts from that company.

The complaint alleged that the company’s sprouts were “prepared, packed, and/or held under insanitary conditions and that the defendants failed to institute practices and procedures necessary to ensure that the company can receive, process, manufacture, prepare, pack, hold, and distribute food under sanitary conditions.”

The facility was inspected from August 12, 2014 through September 3, 2014, and also in October, 2014. Deficiencies included inadequate cleaning practices, ineffective pest control measures, improperly maintained equipment and utensils, and a sprout production environment that was not properly maintained. Inspectors found Listeria in the facility. The company was shut down in November, 2014 and all product was destroyed.

Sprouts are a risky product, and many people, including those in high risk groups such as the elderly, the very young, those with chronic illnesses, and pregnant women, should avoid them unless thoroughly cooked.

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