District Court Orders New York Food Distributors to Comply With Food Safety Requirements
A federal court in Brooklyn entered a permanent injunction against defendants Euroline Foods, LLC, Royal Seafood Baza, Inc., the companies’ owner/operators Eduard Shnayder, Syoma Shnayder, and Albert Niyazov, and operator Oleg Polischouk to prevent insanitary conditions, including practices that increase the risk of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono), the Department of Justice announced today.
The entered consent decree of permanent injunction follows a May 2018 complaint filed by the Department for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The complaint alleged that the defendants’ food preparation at their Lake Avenue, Staten Island, New York facility (“Defendants’ Facility”), violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) by processing and distributing ready-to-eat fish and fishery products, vegetable salads, and cheese products in a facility with chronic insanitary conditions. Specifically, the complaint alleged that FDA inspections found L. mono at the companies’ facility and that the defendants lacked adequate measures to reduce the risk of health hazards such as L. mono, Clostridium botulinum, and scombrotoxin. The complaint also alleged that the defendants failed to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements or with seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations, which are designed to mitigate food safety hazards associated with the processing of fish and fishery products.
The defendants agreed to settle the litigation by the entered consent decree of permanent injunction. As part of the settlement, the defendants represented that they currently receive, hold, and distribute only food that remains enclosed in a container while at Defendants’ Facility. Under the permanent injunction, if the defendants intend to resume food processing and preparation of any non-prepackaged food at Defendants’ Facility, they must first notify FDA in writing at least ninety days in advance of resuming such operations, comply with specific remedial measures set forth in the injunction, and permit FDA to inspect the facility. The injunction also provides safeguards in the event that, in the future, the defendants engage in food processing at another food preparation facility.
“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that food processors follow laws that protect consumers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice and the FDA will continue to work to ensure that prepared food sold to consumers is safe.”
“In response to the government’s lawsuit, the defendants have ceased their at-risk processing operations and destroyed affected food preparation equipment,” stated United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue for the Eastern District of New York. “Going forward, they are permanently barred by the consent decree from processing any foods, other than prepackaged foods that will remain in their original containers, at their Staten Island facility, and any foods that might present a Listeria monocytogenes hazard at any other facility until they establish that they can comply with all applicable laws and regulations. This Office is committed to protecting the public from the dangers of food exposed to bacterium like L. mono or otherwise contaminated.”
Trial Attorney James T. Nelson of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail A. Matthews of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York represented the United States along with the assistance of Associate Chief Counsel for Enforcement Jennifer A. Kang of the FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel.
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 New York, visit its website at www.justice.gov/usao-edny.