District Court Orders Michigan Seafood and Salad Processor to Comply with Food Safety Requirements
A federal court in eastern Michigan permanently enjoined a Hamtramck, Michigan, firm from processing or distributing ready-to-eat seafood salads as well as non-seafood salads, pierogis, and dips processed under insanitary conditions, the Department of Justice announced today.
In a complaint filed on Jan. 13, 2020, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States alleged that defendants Home Style Foods Inc., the company’s president, Michael J. Kowalski, and the company’s quality manager, Juan Valesquez, violated the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by processing and distributing fish products and other food, including salads, pierogis, and dips, in a facility where government inspectors previously found evidence of listeria contamination. The complaint also alleged violations of seafood safety regulations designed to mitigate hazards associated with the processing of fish and fishery products. According to the complaint, FDA issued a warning letter to Home Style Foods in April 2016.
“The Department of Justice is committed to safeguarding consumer health by rigorously enforcing America’s food safety laws,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue to work with FDA to ensure that companies take food sanitation and safety laws seriously.”
“Michigan’s food supply should always be safe, and that is why the Justice Department takes this case so seriously,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider for the Eastern District of Michigan. “There simply is no excuse for serving contaminated food products.”
“After repeated food safety violations, the FDA worked with DOJ to obtain this injunction in order to prevent potentially contaminated food from reaching consumers. The company failed to take the appropriate corrective actions resulting in this action,” said FDA Chief Counsel Stacy Cline Amin, J.D. “When a company fails to follow the law, the government will take action to protect the food supply.”
The defendants agreed to be bound by a consent decree filed with the complaint in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The order entered by the Court permanently enjoins the defendants from violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and requires Home Style Foods to stop processing and distributing its products unless it complies with specific remedial measures set forth in the injunction.
Trial Attorney Danielle Serbin of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch represented the United States with the assistance of Noah T. Katzen, Associate Chief Counsel, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the General Counsel, Food and Drug Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, visit its website at www.justice.gov/usao-edmi.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.