The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has shut down the Los Angeles based Neptune Manufacturing Inc. (“Neptune”) because of longstanding unsanitary conditions, according to a consent decree of permanent injunction entered in a California federal court. Neptune is a fish processing plant that processes and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and pickled seafood products.
Although no associated illnesses have been reported to date, the permanent injunction was filed after the FDA inspected the plant on seven occasions and, repeatedly, found pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (“L. mono”) and uncontrolled growth of Clostridium botulinum (“C. bot”).
In its press release, the FDA states that L. mono is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious illness and even death in the immunocompromised, and that C.bot releases a botulinum toxin that causes botulism, which can result in paralysis and death without prompt treatment.
The fish processing plant will have to comply with the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) before the plant’s operations may resume. This includes destroying all of the smoked, dried, and salt-cured fish products in their possession at the time of the decree, under FDA’s supervision, retaining experts to develop safety protocols and employee training procedures, and having the facility inspected and tested for pathogens.