April 11, 2024

Senator Schumer Wants FDA to Crack Down on Unsanitary Warehouses

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on the FDA this week, asking for more inspections on food warehouses. Last year the FDA found “squalid” conditions in 90 warehouses that hold food that is shipped to consumers.

FDAIn a press release, Schumer said, “at the end of 2014, the FDA quietly revealed hundreds of food safety violations at food processing facilities over the course of the year, and everyone from restaurant-goers to owners are appalled by some of the disgusting conditions at warehouses that supply our food. Reports of the filthy conditions at some of these warehouses sound like a page straight out of Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’.”

Some of the issues in those warehouses were dead and alive rats and birds, and rodent feces next to the food. The FDA inspects “high risk” facilities just once every three years. Storage facilities that have not had tagged violations are inspected even less often. The Senators wants the FDA to increase inspections, increase the fees for violations, and create a database so consumers can look at the safety records of food storage facilities.

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 did expand FDA’s powers with inspections and the agency has a mandate to increase these inspections. But that improvement is still not enough; all “high risk” domestic food facilities are to be inspected by 2016, then at least once every three years after that.

The FDA will conduct an initial inspection, share observations with the owner, and  then issue a warning letter if the violations are not immediately corrected. This process can take weeks or months. One companies that supplies Chinese restaurants was inspected on October 15 and 20, 2014. The inspector found rodent nests inside food boxes, rodent carcasses throughout the facility, and birds defecating on food. The FDA did not issue a warning letter until December 9, 2014, and that was only made public at the end of the year.

Schumer wants to see drastic changes made quickly. He said that every facility that is found to be in violation of food safety laws should immediately be categorized as High Risk. Inspections for those facilities should be increased.  Since there is no way for restaurants and consumers to know which facilities are filthy, the FDA should provide an easy to search database of these facilities and the violations. And finally, penalties for facilities with repeat violations should be steep.



  1. mike vaupel says

    Your Gov’t at work.

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