IRVINGTON, N.J. — U.S. Marshals executed an inspection warrant at Westco Fruit and Nuts (Westco/Westcott) based here, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Wednesday.
Westco/Wescott declined an FDA request that it recall products linked to the Peanut Corp. of America. It also denied FDA access to distribution documents.
Although the FDA doesn’t have the authority to compel companies to recall food products, the law requires that regulated companies grant FDA entry for inspection, and provide access to distribution records.
“FDA’s enforcement action against Westco Fruit and Nuts is an appropriate step toward removing potentially harmful products from the marketplace, especially when, as in this case a company is unwilling to share information FDA needs to ensure food safety,” said Michael Chappell, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, in a statement. “The FDA uses all appropriate legal means necessary to obtain information and fully investigate firms or individuals who put the health of consumers at risk.”
Between Nov. 19 and Dec. 30, 2008, Westco/Westcott received three shipments of Oil Roasted Salted Redskin Jumbo Peanuts from PCA’s Georgia facility. Westco/Westcott sold the peanuts in various packaging configurations and used them as an ingredient in mixed nut products and trail mix.
On Feb. 9, New Jersey officials executed an action at Westco/Westcott’s distribution facility to prevent the company from further distributing potentially contaminated peanuts or peanut-derived products.
The FDA urged consumers on March 23 to check their homes for peanut-derived products made or distributed by Westco/Westcott. No reports of illness or death have been associated with consumption of Westco/Westcott products.
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