The Seattle Times reports this morning that artisan cheesemaker Estrella Family Creamery, in Montesano, Grays Harbor County, has been barred from selling products in interstate commerce until it takes comprehensive steps to eliminate a pathogen from its facilities and takes critical food-safety measures, according to a federal court order announced Friday.
The permanent injunction was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin H. Settle, who also ordered the owners to pay the costs incurred by the government when it seized the company’s cheese inventory in October 2010, after owners refused to initiate a recall.
According to an FDA affidavit, samples of cheese and cheese ingredients on three earlier dates revealed the presence of Listeria Monocytogenes (L. mono), a bacteria found in animal feces that can be life threatening for pregnant women, elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.
After the cheeses were seized in 2010, Estrella told the government that it had fed the seized cheese to pigs on its farm, in violation of the court’s warrant, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
I think I summed up the Estrella’s issues with food safety in a post in 2010:
What the Hell Does Listeria in Cheese have to do with God, Guns and Slavery at the Estrella Family Creamery?
And, I think I summed up why a small producer of Listeria should not be treated differently than a larger one:
Should Estrella Family Creamery be treated differently than Sangar when it comes to Listeria?
Hopefully, the Estrella’s will choose food safety over anti-government ranting and get their products back on store shelves – safely.