Federal Court Enters Injunction Against Grower Of Listeria-Laden Sprouts

Image courtesy of Amy Adoyzie

Back in 2014, we began asking whether everyone should just quit eating raw sprouts, and the sprout industry hasn’t done much to prove that we should since then. One of those companies that was part of the 2014 recalls apparently hasn’t cleaned up its metaphorical act and its literal sprouting facility, and the Food and Drug Administration went through the federal courts system went through the federal courts to stop them from sprouting until the company meets certain conditions.

Inspections of the sprouting facility, Henry’s Farm, have showed sanitation problems dating back to 2012, and testing turned up Listeria on surfaces that come in contact with food and in the company’s products. The production facility also had standing water, live and dead insects, and evidence of rodent activity.

Worse, they didn’t use any antimicrobial substances, which may be the only way to ensure that commercially available sprouts aren’t contaminated with some kind of bacteria.

To be allowed to distribute food again, the company must:

  • Pay an independent laboratory to check their finished product and also surfaces in the facility for dangerous pathogens
  • Hire an independent sanitation expert to help design new procedures
  • Publish a Sanitation Control and Food Safety Plan prepared by that expet
  • Sanitize their facility

  • Destroy all sprouts that were being processed before the injunction.