The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today requested a permanent injunction against American Mercantile Corp., Ingredients Corporation of America, and Damon S. Arney, owner and president of the companies. The companies receive, process, manufacture, prepare, pack, label, hold, and distribute a wide variety of food products and ingredients, including spices, herbs, and sauces.

The complaint, filed by the Justice Department in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, charges that the Memphis-based companies and Arney violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by preparing, packing and holding food under insanitary conditions where it may have become contaminated with filth.

“The FDA continues to take strong enforcement actions against companies like this one that have a history of violations,” said Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, Dara A. Corrigan. “The actions we are taking are necessary to assure consumers that foods they buy are prepared, packaged, and held under sanitary conditions where they will not become contaminated with filth.”

Previous FDA inspections, including an inspection of American Mercantile conducted in October 2010, and another at Ingredients Corporation of American done in November 2010, revealed that the companies and Arney failed to implement basic food sanitation principles and practices at their warehouse and processing operations, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that FDA investigators found widespread insect and rodent activity, a failure to store raw materials in a manner that protects against contamination, and a poorly maintained facility. Despite prior warnings and a May 2009 seizure of food at American Mercantile, the companies and Arney failed to correct violations.