Updated June 15 Before being linked to a multistate Listeria outbreak that includes eight illnesses and two deaths, CRF Frozen Foods was reluctant to cooperate with inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was advised of legal sanctions available to the agency if the firm did not correct serious deficiencies, documents released this week by the agency reveal.
On April 23, CRF Frozen Foods issued a recall of 11 frozen vegetables for possible Listeria contamination. On May 2, 2016, CRF expanded the recall to include all organic and traditional frozen vegetable and fruit products processed in its Pasco, Washington facility since May 1, 2014. The expanded recall, includes 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands.
On May 3, the company was linked to a Listeria outbreak that includes eight cases in three states: six in California, 1 in Maryland and 1 in Washington, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All eight people were hospitalized and two died, although the CDC does not consider listeriosis to be a cause of death for either person.
During a March 14, 2016 inspection of the Pasco facility by FDA investigators, CRF repeatedly refused to allow photography and declined to provide interstate commerce documents for the purchase of onions to FDA inspectors, according to one of the documents.
Inspectors found a number of food safety issues at the plant including: condensation on the piping and ceiling above a green bean area, ice build-up on the ceilling/wail juncture in the freezer, apparent mold on the chlorinated water piping in the corn area, black residue in multiple spots on the ceiling, areas of exposed aggregate, plastic shielding in ill repair, debris on a hose and leaking piping in the corn area, two rotting doors were broken.
Of that list, these have since been corrected: black residue was removed from ceilings and water pipes, ice buildup was removed from the freezer, and the rolling doors have been repaired.