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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

District Court Enters Permanent Injunction against California Soy Food Producer and Three Individuals to Stop Distribution of Adulterated Foods

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against Henh Wong Fresh Produce, of Sacramento, California, its owner, David C. Ly, and employees, Kin S. Ly and Thahn “Danny” C. Ly, to prevent the distribution of adulterated food, the Department of Justice announced today. 

Henh Wong Fresh Produce manufactured and distributed tofu, seasoned tofu, fried tofu, fried bean cakes, soy jello and soy bean drinks.  It also grew, harvested, prepared, packed, held and distributed ready-to-eat mung bean and soy bean sprouts.  In addition to manufacturing and distributing products under the name Henh Wong Fresh Produce, the firm also manufactured and distributed products as Henh Wong Fresh Product and Henh Wong Tofu. 

The department filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), alleging that the company and individuals have a history of processing food products under insanitary conditions. 

In conjunction with the filing of the complaint, the defendants agreed to settle the litigation and be bound by a consent decree of permanent injunction that prohibits them from committing violations of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).  The consent decree states that the defendants have ceased operations at their production facility.  The consent decree also requires Henh Wong Fresh Produce to remain closed, and requires that if the defendants wish to resume manufacturing and distributing food, the FDA first must determine that the firm’s manufacturing practices have come into compliance with the law.

“The department will not hesitate to bring enforcement actions against food producers who do not follow the necessary procedures to comply with our nation’s food safety laws,”

said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.

According to the complaint, the FDA’s most recent inspection of the manufacturing facility at 2630 Fifth Street, Unit 92, in Sacramento, occurred in the summer of 2014.  As alleged in the complaint, during this inspection, FDA investigators found: live cockroaches and flies in the tofu production room; a live cockroach inside a plastic container used for holding ready-to-eat tofu; dead cockroaches in the sprout processing room; a dead cockroach in the mung bean dry storage room; and rodent excreta pellets in the seed dry storage and sprout processing rooms. 

Also, as alleged in the complaint, the FDA found numerous violative employee practices, including: employees using a high-pressure hose to clean equipment and debris on the floor in the tofu production room, causing water to splash from the floor onto nearby fried tofu and other in-process tofu products; an employee touching the lid of a dumpster covered with a black slimy residue and old food build-up and then handling ready-to-eat tofu without sanitizing her hands; an employee scooping sprouts off the floor and then touching various food product contact surfaces without first changing or sanitizing his gloves; an employee using a dirty floor broom to clean sprout processing equipment; and an employee touching a scale stained with a black slimy residue and then continuing to pack ready-to-eat sprouts without first changing or sanitizing his gloves.

According to the complaint, the FDA inspected Henh Wong’s facility five other times prior to the 2014 inspection — in 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011 — and similar to the 2014 inspection, FDA investigators observed questionable or violative practices during all of these inspections. 

The government is represented by Counsel Melanie Singh of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, with the assistance of Associate Chief Counsel Laura Akowuah of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of General Counsel – Food and Drug Division.

Consumer Protection
Press Release Number: 
Updated August 4, 2015