Until the FDA decides that Fong Kee Tofu Co. Inc. has firmed up its operations to sell clean and sanitary food, the company's owners have agreed to cease production at their San Francisco factory. A lawsuit alleges that unsanitary conditions were leading to adulterated products at the plant, which produces firm and soft tofus, fried tofu balls, soybean cakes, and soybean drinks.
CBS 5 reports that owners Yan Hui Fong, Jen Ying Fong, and Suny Fong agreed to halt production in a consent decree filed in federal court Tuesday. The settlement comes as a response to a civil lawsuit filed against Fong Kee Tofu Co. Inc. in January by the U.S. Justice Department at the FDA's request.
The unsavory details alleged in the suit are that FDA inspectors observed pigeons atop plastic-wrapped raw soybean pallets and insects in an area used to process firm tofu. The suit also alleges that inspectors observed a lack of correct hand washing on the part of employees and noticed residue on equipment that should have been cleaned.
Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Joyce Branda said in a statement that, “Fong Kee Tofu was repeatedly informed that the sanitation practices at its facility were deficient... The failure to make sure that its facility was operating under sanitary conditions could be a serious risk to the public health and needed to be remedied."
In order to resume operations at the facility, an outside sanitation expert must be hired along with a labeling expert and an auditor to develop and monitor a food safety program. That needn't necessarily be three people, as one expert could have all three qualifications. Under the injunction, though, the FDA would subject Fong Kee Tofu Co. Inc. to inspections without notice.