The FDA observed repeated violations of food safety requirements by BEK Catering

Seafood Fish / Food Safety Violations Force Alabama Seafood Company to Cease Operations
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July 06, 2016

A federal court has ordered an Alabama seafood manufacturer to cease production due to food safety violations.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama entered a consent decree of permanent injunction between the United States and BEK Catering. The business, owned by Billy B. Stembridge, Jr. and Kyle D. Huxen, operates as Floppers Foods. The decree was sought after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documented serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and of Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for foods.

The FDA conducted multiple inspections of the company's facilities between September 2011 and April 2015, noting repeated deviations from HACCP requirements. The seafood HACCP regulations are intended to ensure the safety of fish and fishery products, and they prescribe a set of requirements that must be followed by seafood processors. Under these regulations, processors must conduct, or have conducted for them, hazard analyses to identify any food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur during processing of each type of seafood.

"When a company fails to provide an adequate plan for preventing food safety hazards from occurring in their facility, they are putting the public at risk," said Melinda K. Plaisier, in a written statement. Plaisier is the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "It is the job of the FDA to oversee that seafood businesses have adequate controls in place for the products they produce. When adequate preventive controls are not in place, we must take action to prevent potentially harmful food from entering the food supply."

The company will not be permitted to operate until they are compliant with federal food regulations. As part of the consent decree, the owners represented that they are no longer processing fish and fishery products. In order to resume seafood processing operations, BEK Catering must notify FDA in writing 90 days in advance, comply with remedial measures specified in the decree, and be subject to FDA inspection, along with other requirements.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with BEK Catering.