Rodents and roaches and urine, oh my; contaminated chile ordered destroyed

A New Mexico company was ordered to destroy $171,000 worth of red chile after federal authorities say it was contaminated by rodent droppings and urine, insect larvae and roaches, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Deputy U.S. marshals seized 25 tons of Mexican-imported chile from the Duran and Sons warehouse in Derry, N.M. on Dec. 13, 2010. The imported pods are alleged to have contaminated 50 tons of New Mexican red chile that was also kept in the warehouse.

The company was ordered Monday by U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo to pay for destroying the produce under the supervision of the Food and Drug Administration, by no later than March 17.

Inspectors in November allegedly found rodent nests and evidence that mice had gnawed, defecated and urinated on the chile pods, ground chile and crushed chile after they had been shipped to the Duran & Sons Chile Products warehouse, about eight miles north of Hatch.

Apart from the chile, however, Duran’s warehouse was also allegedly home to "a live cat, live birds, apparent bird nesting, bird droppings, rodent nesting, rodent excreta pellets, animal feces, animal urine, lice and dead insects and insect larvae and moth-like insects," according to court documents.