FDA Says Processing Plant Linked to Massive Listeria Outbreak Is Impossible to Clean
This story has been updated to reflect a comment from CRF Frozen Foods.
The Food and Drug Administration found quite a few problems with the CRF Frozen Foods processing plant.
The Pasco, Washington facility was inspected by FDA staffers between March 14 and March 17. According to Food Safety News, the agency’s report was finally posted to its website on Thursday. The report found various unfavorable conditions at the plant, which the inspectors said “does not allow proper cleaning and maintenance”—which could be why the Listeria outbreak occurred.
Their findings included a chipped and cracked plastic shovel that was used to scoop up food. They also found chipped, cracked, and missing pieces of plastic on the onion production line; knives that were used to remove unwanted pieces of onions had initials etched into them; and blue tape that was being used to temporarily fix a cracked metal plate on a packing line where products meant for export were packed at the time of the inspection. All of this made the facility nearly impossible to clean.
CRF Frozen Foods has been connected to a massive listeria outbreak, and hundreds of products have been recalled as a result. The recalls affect frozen fruits and vegetables manufactured at the Washington facility since May 1, 2014 with Best By dates between April 26, 2016 and April 26, 2018.
“There is no proof that what was found in the report is linked the the [Listeria] outbreak,” a CRF spokesperson told Fortune. “There’s even a question that the outbreak itself was linked to CRF.” He added that the voluntary recall has been very well-managed, and was done out of an abundance of caution.