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Press Release

District Court Enters Permanent Injunction to Prevent Chicago Company and Two Individuals from Distributing Adulterated Mung Beans and Soybean Sprouts

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a consent decree for permanent injunction against Wholesome Soy Products Inc., Julia Trinh and Paul Trinh to prevent them from distributing adulterated mung bean and soybean sprouts, the Department of Justice announced today.

The department filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on April 3, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  According to the complaint, Wholesome Soy received, processed, manufactured, prepared, packed, held and distributed ready-to-eat mung bean and soybean sprouts.  Wholesome Soy operated at 1150 West 40th Street in Chicago.

“We must work to ensure that the food we buy from store shelves is safe and produced under sanitary conditions,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The Department of Justice will continue to work with our partners at FDA to accomplish that goal.”

The complaint alleged that Julia Trinh is the owner and president of Wholesome Soy, and that until recently, she was responsible for purchasing supplies and equipment, managing contracts and agreements with contractors, handling customer service, hiring, firing, scheduling training, implementing procedures and maintaining quality assurance.  The complaint also alleged that Paul Trinh was a manager at Wholesome Soy, and that until recently, he was responsible for production operations, sprout processing and training new hires.

The complaint alleged that the company’s food was prepared, packed and/or held under insanitary conditions and that the defendants failed to institute practices and procedures necessary to ensure that the company can receive, process, manufacture, prepare, pack, hold and distribute food under sanitary conditions.

According to the complaint, the FDA conducted inspections of the company’s facility from Aug. 12, 2014 through Sept. 3, 2014, and in October 2014.  As described in the complaint, FDA found insanitary conditions and significant sanitary deficiencies in the October inspection that were repeat observations from the previous inspection.  The repeated deficiencies included employee practices that allowed for potential contamination of food contact surfaces and food products; cleaning practices that were inadequate; pest control measures that were ineffective; equipment and utensils that were not properly maintained; and a sprout production environment that was not properly maintained.

In conjunction with the filing of the complaint, the defendants agreed to settle the litigation and be bound by a consent decree for permanent injunction.  Under the permanent injunction, Wholesome Soy, Julia Trinh and Paul Trinh are permanently restrained from directly or indirectly receiving, processing, manufacturing, preparing, packing, holding and/or distributing at the facility at 1150 West 40th Street any article of food, unless the defendants make several changes to their facility, including remedial measures and an implementation of a Listeria monitoring program.   

The government is represented by the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch with the assistance of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of General Counsel’s Food and Drug Division. 

Updated September 16, 2015

Consumer Protection
Press Release Number: 15-501