Federal court orders condemnation and destruction of contaminated chile products
ALBUQUERQUE – Today, United States District Judge M. Christina Armijo entered a Consent Decree ordering the condemnation and destruction of certain chile products located in a warehouse in Derry, New Mexico owned and operated by Duran and Sons, LLC (Duran), that were seized by the United States Marshals Service in mid-December 2010. Under the terms of the Consent Decree, Duran must pay for all costs incurred in destroying the contaminated chile products, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) costs in supervising the destruction. Duran must destroy the contaminated chile products in a manner that complies with all federal, state and local laws within forty-five days (by March 17, 2011).
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said the contaminated chile products were seized on December 13, 2010 pursuant to a seizure warrant that was issued based on a civil Complaint for Forfeiture. The complaint alleged that the chile products, including chile pods, ground chile and crushed chile, stored in the Duran warehouse might be contaminated because they have been held under insanitary conditions. When FDA inspectors inspected the Duran warehouse on November 15-22, 2010, they observed evidence of active and widespread insect and rodent infestation as well as other insanitary conditions. The contents of the Duran warehouse were placed under an embargo on November 17, 2010 to prohibit the removal or disposal of any of the chile products stored in the Duran warehouse and ensure that the products will not enter the consumer market.
The case was investigated by the FDA with the assistance of the New Mexico Environment Division and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Raymond Hamilton and Julie A. Dohm, Assistant Chief Counsel for Enforcement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of General Counsel, FDA Division, represented the United States in this case.
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