June 26, 2022

Felix Custom Smoking Enjoined From Distributing Seafood Products

Felix Custom Smoking has been enjoined from distributing seafood products through a consent decree filed on March 9, 2022 by the FDA and the U.S. Justice Department. The owner of that establishment, Diane Zollinger, has allegedly violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) by distributing “adulterated ready-to-eat seafood products, including fish jerky and cold- and hot-smoked salmon,” according to the complaint.

Felix Custom Smoking Enjoined From Distributing Seafood Products

The business sells products directly to consumers from its location and through farmers markets, as well as providing custom processing for fishermen and other wholesalers. The facility is located in Monroe, Washington. The claims made in the complaint are allegations that, if the case were to proceed to trail, the government must prove by a preponderance of the evidence.

FDA inspectors visited the facility in 2021 and found “a significant infestation of flies and other filthy conditions that can create an ideal environment for the growth of harmful bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes,” according to the complaint. The FDA took multiple samples at the facility and confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in and around food preparation areas.

Genetic testing showed that the same strain of Listeria Monocytogenes had been present in the facility since at least 2018, and a sample of seafood from one of the company’s customers also showed the same strain of Listeria, according to the complaint. FDA issued a public health alert against purchasing or eating Felix Custom Smoking seafood products on August 27, 2021

The injunction requires the company to eliminate Listeria monocytogenes at their facility, make sanitation improvements, and comply with federal food safety regulations before processing or distributing any more seafood.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division said in a statement, “Food processors must ensure the safety of their products. The department will continue to work closely with FDA to stop the distribution of contaminated food.”

And U.S. Attorney Nick Brown for the Western District of Washington added, “The Western District of Washington has seen all too vividly what happens when adulterated food makes it into our food supply. Whether it is E.coli in ground beef or orange juice or, as alleged in this case, dangerous bacteria in smoked salmon, we count on the FDA’s inspectors to keep us and our families safe.”


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