Seattle tofu and soy processor Chu Minh Corps has suffered the loss of its food manufacturing licence and a fine of $17,800 after repeated sanitation problems.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) revoked the company’s licence to process food and in addition to imposing the fine, required all product at its facility to be destroyed.
As a result of these actions, which according to reports represent the first time the WSDA has revoked a Washington business’s licence, the company cannot process any food at its Seattle premises.
WSDA inspectors paid several visits to Chu Minh Corps, where they consistently found unsanitary conditions, poor sanitation practices by employees, pest infestations and a general failure to protect food products from contamination, said the WSDA.
Persistence of issues
The most recent inspection was on March 6, where the inspectors noted the persistence of issues that had been previously brought to the company’s attention.
The WSDA said it had twice issued orders to suspend Chu Minh Corp’s processing licence. Both times the company signed settlement agreements in which it promised to meet food processing requirements. The most recent agreement was made in October 2012.
The WSDA’s Food Safety and Consumer Services Division tried to work with businesses first to correct problems when violation of the state food and handling requirements are discovered, said the WSDA.
However, the WSDA said: “In this case, WSDA had twice issued orders to suspend Chu Minh Corp’s processing licence. Both times, the company signed settlement agreements in which they promised to meet food processing requirements. The most recent agreement was in October 2012.
“However, the continued violations of food processing standards and the failure to fully pay earlier fines associated with previous violations led to the decision to revoke Chu Minh Corp’s food processing licence.”
The decision was made on March 11 and Chu Minh Corp was given 10 days to appeal and request agency reconsideration of the order. However, it cannot operate as a food manufacturer during this period.
Notices about the licence revocation have been sent to all retail outlets and restaurants that have purchase or carry Chu Minh Corp’s products.
Consumers who purchased Chu Minh products are advised to dispose of them.