Pacific Nutritional Foods, Inc. concealed its distribution and recall of contaminated soy products
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced an agreement with Pacific Nutritional Foods, Inc., an Oregon food processor that allegedly sold contaminated food products after learning of the contamination and also failed to inform the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"Consumers must be able to trust that food on the shelf is safe to eat," said Deputy Attorney General Mary Williams. "Companies that knowingly risk or compromise the public health will be held accountable."
In October of 2009, the FDA issued a warning letter after conducting several inspections of the Tualatin food processing facility. The letter detailed serious violations of low-acid and canned food regulations that rendered Pacific Nutritional Foods' soy and oat-based beverage products "adulterated" because they were prepared, packed or held under unsanitary conditions and as a result were unfit for consumption.
The FDA's Warning Letter prompted the Oregon Department of Justice to conduct an independent review that revealed numerous violations by Pacific Nutritional Foods for failing to comply with various procedural and reporting requirements intended to ensure the safety of commercially-processed food.
The Department found that on multiple occasions, Pacific Nutritional Foods discovered potentially harmful micro-organisms in products it had released for distribution and surreptitiously withdrew the products from the market without issuing a formal recall. FDA guidelines require commercial processors of low-acid foods to promptly report to the agency when contaminated food has in whole or in part entered distribution.
In addition, the Department found that the company failed to address what might have caused the tainted soy products and did not institute any policies or procedures to mitigate the possibility of future contamination.
Today's settlement requires Pacific Nutritional Foods, Inc. to pay $15,000 to the Oregon Department of Justice; develop adequate protocols for preventing and responding to future contaminations; and comply with state and federal regulations and reporting requirements.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Greg Smith handled the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org