A US court has ordered a juice manufacturer to stop distributing its product after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found inorganic arsenic in some of Valley Processing Inc.’s products.
The US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington (state) has entered a consent decree between the FDA and Valley Processing, Inc. of Sunnyside, Washington, along with the company’s owner and president, Mary Ann Bliesner, to stop distributing adulterated juice products until the company complies with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other requirements listed in the consent decree.
The FDA says that in an inspection, investigators observed that the defendants processed juice under insanitary conditions and failed to adhere to relevant food safety standards. This included storing grape juice concentrate contaminated with filth and mould in off-site storage tanks and covered barrels outside for several years.
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We’re taking action to protect Americans, including children in this case, from consuming foods that have been processed in violation of the law.
Despite the contamination, the FDA claims the defendants combined this juice concentrate with newer lots and distributed the mixture to consumers. This included the distribution of juice for use in school lunch programmes. The complaint states that the defendants promised to discontinue using the contaminated juice, but a subsequent inspection by the FDA in 2019 showed the defendants continued to blend the older juice with newer juice for distribution.
“Food processors who do not comply with FDA regulations can put consumers’ health and well-being in danger. With this consent decree, we’re taking action to protect Americans, including children in this case, from consuming foods that have been processed in violation of the law,” said Judy McMeekin, the FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs.
“The FDA is fully committed to taking appropriate measures against those who disregard food safety standards and distribute adulterated food to the public.”
The consent decree of permanent injunction entered by US District Judge Stanley A. Bastian prohibits Valley Processing, Inc. from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding, labelling, and/or distributing FDA-regulated products unless and until it completes corrective actions.
Valley Processing says at the time of the entry of the decree, it had already ceased its juice processing activities. Under the consent decree, Valley Processing, Inc. must destroy any juice still in its possession. Before processing or distributing any juice or food in the future, the FDA says the defendants first must notify the authority in advance, comply with specific remedial measures set forth in the injunction, and permit the FDA to inspect their facilities and procedures.