Approximately $1 Million Worth Of Food Products Seized From V.I.P. Foods, Inc.’s Ridgewood, New York Facility
Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, today announced the unsealing of a civil complaint and the seizure of approximately $1,000,000 worth of food products from V.I.P. Foods, Inc. (“V.I.P.”) pursuant to a warrant issued by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis. The complaint alleges that V.I.P. violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 301, et seq. The suit seeks forfeiture and condemnation of the adulterated food products.
V.I.P., based in Ridgewood, New York, is a manufacturer, warehouse, and repacker of various formulated dried mixes and bases such as chicken soup base, blueberry muffin mix, pancake mix, and flavored mashed potatoes. V.I.P.’s products are distributed under various names including V.I.P. Foods, VIP Foods, and KoJel. V.I.P. also distributes products under private label. The government’s claims arose from an investigation conducted by the FDA which revealed widespread rodent infestation, other insanitary conditions, and issues with V.I.P.’s building structure which provide entryway for insects and rodents. The complaint alleges that FDA inspectors observed live and dead rodents, rodent-gnawed containers of food, rodent nests within pallets of food and packaging materials, rodent excreta pellets too numerous to count scattered throughout V.I.P.’s premises, and rodent urine stains on and around food product and food product packaging.
“VIP’s warehouse was a picnic ground for rodents, and the company failed utterly in its obligation to provide food deemed safe for human consumption. Those who store, package, and sell the food we serve our families have a responsibility to maintain basic standards of cleanliness in their facilities. We are committed to protecting the public from health risks and ensuring that food manufacturers comply with the federal laws prohibiting them from preparing, packing, and holding food products under unsanitary conditions,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.
The government’s case is being litigated by Assistant United States Attorney Melanie D. Hendry.