HACCP or get out: FDA closes Maryland seafood processor

Failure to document proper refrigeration, failure to keep fish species separate to avoid cross-contamination, failure to meet sanitation standards or keep records of compliance, and failure to verify that imported fish met FDA standards has led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to shut down Congressional Seafood of Jessup, Md.

Michael Chappell, acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs at FDA, said,

“On numerous occasions, FDA has warned the defendants, both orally and in writing, about their conduct and has emphasized the importance of their compliance with the (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic) Act.”

Under a consent decree filed Friday, to become compliant with food safety laws, Congressional Seafood must have its HACCP and sanitation plans submitted by an independent expert and approved by FDA.

The FDA complaint accompanying the decree notes that the production of fresh, frozen and ready-to-eat seafood products without adequate HACCP plans poses a significant public health risk because these products are well-known sources Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella spp., and other pathogenic microorganisms. Humans who consume food containing these bacteria can suffer serious health consequences.