Published in Food/Agribusiness

Saranac firm agrees to cease operations after food safety violations

BY Wednesday, December 19, 2018 03:45pm

GRAND RAPIDS — A federal court ordered a West Michigan-based food manufacturer of ready-to-eat foods, including prepared salads, dips, and sauces, to discontinue selling food products until the company complies with federal regulations and other requirements.

The defendant, Saranac-based Saranac Brand Foods Inc., told the court it discontinued all food operations in August 2018 and intends to dissolve the company.

Since 2012, FDA and state officials have found Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) in the facility during three separate inspections, according to a statement. The inspections also documented that the defendants were processing food in unsanitary conditions.

“The FDA and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development have documented a pattern of food safety violations at this facility,” FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Melinda Plaisier said in a statement. “The inappropriate and unsafe practices of Saranac Brand Foods not only violated the law but also put consumers in harm’s way.”

The strain of bacteria can cause the infection listeriosis, a rare illness that can cause lifelong consequences and even death. Unlike many other foodborne pathogens, listeriosis can grow at refrigeration temperatures and in food with fairly low moisture content and high salt concentration.

People with compromised immune systems, infants, and the elderly are particularly susceptible to contamination. Infection during pregnancy can result in spontaneous abortions or stillbirths. In 2011, and an outbreak in Colorado resulted in infection of 147 people and 33 deaths, making it the deadliest recorded U.S. foodborne outbreak since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking outbreaks in the 1970s.

“This type of behavior is unacceptable to the FDA and is why we took action to prevent the defendants from introducing contaminated or potentially contaminated food products into the marketplace,” Plasier said.

If Saranac Brand Foods or the company’s co-owners, Dennis Nowak and Daniel Nowak, choose to resume operations, they are required to notify the FDA and take corrective actions.

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