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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

FDA Takes “Aggressive” Action – Nine Years Later

fda-logo.jpgThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that Triple A Services Inc., a Chicago-area company, has agreed to stop making its ready-to-eat sandwiches and produce after FDA investigators repeatedly found unsanitary conditions and bacterial contamination in the facility.  The government’s complaint, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on December 22, 2011, describes Triple A’s history of operating under unsanitary conditions and Listeria monocytogenes contamination in the processing facility.

Here are some of the lowlights of the Triple A Services Inc. Warning Letter, April 20, 2011:

  1. A small bird was perched on a ceiling support directly above a hot truck. The bird then defecated, and the excreta landed within 3 feet of the truck. The truck was unattended, and uncovered onion condiments were being stored on the back bumper of the truck. The ceiling support that the bird was perched on was covered in apparent bird excreta.
  2. A black and white cat was inside the facility towards the southeast corner of the South garage. The South garage was mostly empty, but enters directly into the Offices and Store of the facility, where finished products are held for truck drivers to pick up.
  3. Five large birds were on the floor in the northeastern corner of the Central garage walking near scraps of food left unattended on the floor.
  4. Three small birds were flying in the West garage, where hot trucks were holding uncovered food, some of which were unattended. The West garage opens directly into the Central garage.
  5. Three small birds were flying in the middle of the Central garage above where hot trucks were holding uncovered food, some of which were unattended.
  6. One large bird was walking around on the southeastern floor of the Central garage, and many birds could be heard chirping inside the facility. At the time, hot trucks were holding uncovered food and some were unattended. The bird was within 10 feet of the doorway of the Cart room.
  7. A cart holding finished pork tacos and various sandwiches had approximately 18 apparent bird excreta on top of it, and 10 apparent bird excreta on its lower shelf. This cart was parked outside of a hot truck unattended on the south side of the Central garage.
  8. An empty black crate had approximately 12 apparent bird excreta on it. Other crates had apparent bird excreta on them as well. The crates were stored on the east side of the Central garage, approximately 5 feet from the Cart room, and are used to store and transport finished ready-to-eat Fruit Plates, Eggs, Cheese & Crackers, and other products.

Here are some of the lowlights of the Triple A Services Inc. Warning Letter, November 18, 2002

  1. Numerous birds (pigeons, robins, etc.) were observed in flight and defecating in the truck bay area, where finished product, including open containers of baked goods, are loaded onto out-going catering trucks. Raw materials were also observed being unloaded in this area, including produce containers with exposed contents, while numerous birds were flying and walking around.
  2. Bird feces were observed caked on the wall, rafters and overhead pipes in the truck bay area noted above, where finished product is loaded onto trucks, and where raw materials were observed being unloaded.
  3. Ants were observed in the dry bakery goods storage area, within approximately five inches of a pallet of flour.
  4. Feces were observed in one comer of the truck bay area, approximately five feet from a product loading point for catering vans. A sample of this fecal material was collected during our inspection and was confirmed by our laboratory as mammalian feces.

“FDA took these aggressive actions because Triple A Services continued to violate current good manufacturing practice regulations and allow for conditions that could affect the health of consumers,” said Dara Corrigan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.

And, it only took nine years.  I guess the CEO and the FDA have not read U.S. vs Park?

  • Randy Francisco

    Don’t mess with the cat. Someone has to keep the rat population down.