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FDA Forces Soy Plant Shutdown

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, June 07, 2010 5:03 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Lifesoy, Sanitation, FDA, Food Safety


IMAGE SOURCE: FDA logo from Web site

Unsanitary Conditions

A manufacturer of ready-to-eat soy products will stop operations after the Food and Drug Administration found what it calls unsanitary conditions.

Lifesoy Inc. of San Diego is accused of preparing and holding soy products in violation of federal sanitation rules.

The company makes fried tofu, soy milk, fresh tofu and soybean pudding, among other products for human consumption. FDA inspectors say that Lifesoy and its owner, Long Lai, failed to store food at the proper refrigeration which prevents the growth of micro-organisms.

On Monday, Lifesoy entered into a permanent injunction to stop production, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, until it registers with the FDA and cleans up it shop.

The enforcement is part of the FDA’s attempt to get tough with food manufacturers.

“Today’s action shows that the FDA will seek enforcement action against companies that continue to violate federal laws designed to protect the safety of the nation’s food supply,” said FDA Acting Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Michael Chappell. “Food facilities such as Lifesoy are required by law to register with the FDA and follow current good manufacturing practices and other laws, including maintaining a sanitary facility.”

The facility was first inspected in November 2007. The FDA says it tried to help the company reach compliance. A follow-up inspection in May 2008 showed the company fell short as revealed in an FDA letter to Mr. Lai posted on the FDA Web site.

Besides the refrigeration problem, a domestic cat, dogs, insects and rat droppings were observed in the manufacturing facility. The FDA also claimed the company had inaccurate information for sugar, carbohydrate and calorie count. An inspector reportedly saw dirty cleaning water spash into a vat of food and workers who failed to wash their hands before direct contact with food.

Lifesoy must hire a qualified sanitation expert, with no ties to the company, to develop a sanitation plan complicit with Good Manufacturing Practices. The facility will have to be re-inspected by the FDA before it can receive approval. #

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