Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, announced that it had successfully sought legal help against Professional Warehouse and Distribution. The company, which is based in St. Paul, Minnesota was raided on June 15, 2007 by the U.S. Marshals Service. The FDA says that agents seized food products worth an estimated $73,000 and included foodstuffs like pasta, dried beans, flours and spices.
The FDA has been trying to get Professional Warehouse and Distribution to clean up its act for years. The facility was inspected twice back in 2015. Following the first inspection, which happened in February of that year, agents claimed they found “insanitary conditions” that could cause food stored in the building to become contaminated with filth.
In October of 2015 the place was inspected again. Agents reported that the company had done nothing to correct the problems found in the previous inspection, despite promises to do so.
The FDA, for whatever reason, apparently did not go back until May of this year. At that time, say agents, there was evidence of “widespread vermin” activity, which prompted the agency to place the company under a 20-day detainment order while it sought a seizure order from the courts. (U.S. law gives the FDA the ability to stop food products from entering the market for up to 20 days in such cases.)
“The FDA plays a key role protecting public health and ensuring not only that food is properly manufactured and labeled, but that it is handled and stored correctly as well,” said Melinda K. Plaisier in the agency’s press release announcing the raid. “The storage conditions in the warehouse were simply unacceptable, and the FDA took action to protect Americans.”
Plaisier is the FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs.
So far, it does not appear that anyone has actually been sickened by any foodstuff from the warehouse. As far as I can tell, the inspection reports from 2015 and 2017 have not been made publicly available.