The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a consent decree and 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 at a food distribution facility, including practices that increase the risk of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono), the Department of Justice announced today.
The consent decree approved by U.S. District Judge Brian M. Cogan follows a May 2018 civil complaint the Department filed at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The complaint alleged that the defendants’ food preparation at their facility at 175 Lake Avenue, Staten Island, New York (“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. The complaint alleged that FDA inspections found L. mono at the companies’ facility and that the defendants failed to put in place adequate measures to reduce the risk of health hazards such as L. mono, Clostridium botulinum and scombrotoxin.
The defendants agreed to settle the litigation and be bound by a 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 the Defendants’ Facility. If the defendants intend to resume food processing and preparation of any non-prepackaged food at the Defendants’ Facility, they must first notify FDA in writing at least 90 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.
“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.”
“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that food processors adhere to laws enacted to 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 together to make sure that the food that consumers receive is safe.”
According to the complaint, the defendants failed to adequately implement effective sanitation controls to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements. In addition, the complaint alleged that the defendants failed to comply 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.
This matter is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail A. Matthews of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and Trial Attorney James T. Nelson of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, with the assistance of Associate General Counsel for Enforcement Jennifer C. Argabright of the FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at http://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 https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny .