The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that it sent in U.S. Marshals to seize food stored by Gourmet Provisions, LLC and Royal Cup, Inc. at a warehouse in Virginia. Federal investigators had found widespread and active rodent and insect infestation, as well as unclean equipment and structural defects to the building.
No one has reported becoming sick because of these products, which include ice cream cones.
“These companies have a responsibility for the safety and quality of their products,” Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, stated in a press release. She noted that the FDA is committed to acting when a food product company does not uphold its responsibility.
The two businesses occupy the same warehouse in Waynesboro, Va. Gourmet Provisions, which does business as Matt’s Supreme Cones, not only manufactures but also packages ice cream cones, which are then stored in its warehouse. Other food products produced by the company are also stored there. Within a separate area on the same premises, Royal Cup stores its own coffee service items.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services had already placed some of the seized food products under an embargo. “Effective measures had not been taken … to protect food products and food contact surfaces from contamination,” the FDA stated in its press release.
About 48 million people (or one in every six Americans) get sick each year from foodborne illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An additional 128,000 are hospitalized while 3,000 die every year. Among the diseases transpored by rats and delivered to humans are typhus, salmonellosis, and leptospirosis, which can be contracted through water or food contamined by rat urine.