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A Maine food processing and storage company destroyed its cold smoked salmon product under the supervision of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes within the firm’s facility and on processing equipment.
Based on conditions at Mill Stream Corp. of Hancock, Maine, FDA investigators ordered an administrative detention of the firm’s cold-smoked salmon product, a ready-to-eat food, during an inspection in December 2011. Once the food was detained, Mill Stream Corp. agreed to voluntarily destroy the cold-smoked salmon, under FDA supervision.
The FDA may order the detention of food when an investigator has a reason to believe that the food is adulterated or misbranded. Food subject to an FDA detention order may not be moved, without agency permission, until the agency releases it or the detention order expires. A detention order may remain in place for up to 30 days.
“FDA will not hesitate to take immediate steps to protect the public’s health,” said Dara A. Corrigan, the FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. “We will aggressively use our enforcement tools to prevent potentially adulterated food from reaching the public.”
Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause listeriosis, a rare and serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
However, listeriosis can be fatal, especially in older people, those with compromised immune systems, and in those with certain chronic medical conditions such as cancer. In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and serious illness or death in newborn babies, though the mother herself rarely becomes seriously ill.
No illnesses have been reported to date from Mill Stream Corp. products. Illnesses or adverse events related to use of these products should be reported to the FDA.
The FDA carried out its action against Mill Stream Corp. under the administrative detention authority for foods as amended as part of the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act. The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.
The Agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.