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Michigan Food Distributor Closes After Inspectors Discover Listeria

A federal court has prohibited a Michigan food processing company from distribution after health inspections revealed unsanitary conditions, the Justice Department announced Monday. Sanarac Brand Foods, which was in operation for more than 50 years, prepared and distributed 35 individual ready-to-eat salads, dips and sauces, but numerous health inspections found that its processing facility contained a strain of the potentially deadly Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria is responsible for 1,600 illnesses and more than 250 deaths annually.

“Saranac Brand Foods is not aware of ANY food-borne illnesses and/or other health issues caused by any food products manufactured by the Company. Saranac Brand Foods ceased production of any and all food products over three months ago,” the company told mlive.com in a statement. “We have always placed great importance on producing high-quality food and on food safety. We are well aware of the Complaint and Consent Decree that was recently filed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We agreed to enter the Consent Decree to resolve outstanding compliance issues raised by the FDA rather than in response to any known health concerns.”

Sanarac’s owners also agreed to submit their new facility to the FDA for inspection.

“Taking steps to keep potentially unsafe food out of the U.S. food supply is a core responsibility of the FDA,” said FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Melinda K. Plaisier. “When a company fails to follow current good manufacturing practices and processes food under insanitary conditions, the FDA will take action to protect the public health and safety of Americans.”

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Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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