Enforcement before illness: Put down the knife and step away from the sandwich; FDA tells Chicago Co to stop because of lousy food safety

“The stars are in our corners” and “Food service beyond expectation since 1960,” are the slogans of catering firm, Triple A Services Inc.

If listeria is a star and beyond expectation.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that a Chicago-area company has agreed to stop making its ready-to-eat sandwiches and produce after FDA investigators repeatedly found unsanitary conditions and bacterial contamination in the facility.

The company, Triple A Services Inc., and its owners and operators, Thomas J. Whennen, Scott C. Whennen and David A. Frisco, have agreed to stop producing and distributing the sandwiches and produce as part of a consent decree filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois.

The terms of the decree would also require Triple A to hire a sanitation expert to help establish an effective sanitation program, to comply with FDA regulations and to eliminate Listeria contamination from company facilities.

The government’s complaint, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on December 22, 2011, describes Triple A’s history of operating under unsanitary conditions and Listeria monocytogenes contamination in the processing facility.

It also outlines Triple A’s failure to comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practice and seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point regulations.

"FDA took these aggressive actions because Triple A Services continued to violate current good manufacturing practice regulations and allow for conditions that could affect the health of consumers," said Dara Corrigan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.

No illnesses have been reported to date from Triple A Services’ products.