The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington has entered a consent decree against Dominguez Foods of Washington Inc. to resolve a food seizure action alleging violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), the Justice Department announced today.
During an inspection in August and September 2011, investigators from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) observed evidence of rodent and insect infestation in a facility in Zillah, Wash., where Dominguez Foods stores and processes foods. At the conclusion of the inspection, FDA investigators issued a detention order covering all food in the facility that was not in hermetically sealed containers. At the request of FDA, the United States sought a warrant of arrest for the detained products, alleging that the food was adulterated under the FDCA due to the conditions in the warehouse documented during FDA’s inspection. The court issued the warrant and, on Sept. 30, 2011, the U.S. Marshals seized various articles of food at the Dominguez facility, including spices, tea, chile pods and dried beans. After negotiations with the government, Dominguez Foods agreed to resolve the matter through a consent decree.
Under the consent decree, Dominguez Foods must certify that it has taken the necessary corrective actions to render its facility fit for the storage and handling of food and must also implement an ongoing sanitation control program. The consent decree also bans the firm from causing the adulteration of food by maintaining them in insanitary conditions.
“Public health and safety demand that food be processed and stored under sanitary conditions,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. “The Court’s consent decree requires Dominguez Foods to put in place programs and procedures to ensure that the food handled in its facility is safe.”
The matter was handled by Department of Justice Trial Attorney Shannon Pedersen of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant Chief Counsel Scott Kaplan of the FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel.