US Marshals have seized about 5,000 cases of ready-to-eat frozen Jonah crab products from Rome Packing Company because of concerns over the safety of the items.
The law enforcement agency carried out the seizure at the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. FDA investigators had determined that the products had been prepared, packed, and held under unsanitary conditions and may present a risk to human health.
The FDA conducted its investigation of Rome Packing's Lakeville, MA facility from November 2014 to January 2015, observing poor sanitary practices and found that the company's cooking process for crabs did not maintain adequate temperatures to prevent the growth of pathogens such as listeria monocytogenes. Officials collected environmental swabs during the inspection and confirmed the presence of the dangerous bacteria in the manufacturing area.
"The FDA made several efforts to help Rome Packing correct processes, but the company failed to take adequate corrective measures," Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a written statement. "In this case, we had to intervene and seize this adulterated food to prevent it from reaching consumers."
Rome Packing is currently not operating or producing food. No illnesses have been reported to date.
Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.