Md. Kimchi Maker Agrees to Close After Receiving FDA Citation for Insanitary Practices

The consent decree prohibits the company and its owner from processing food or seafood until it complies with pertinent regulations.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Sungwon Inc. of Columbia, Md., and the company’s president, Sang Ja Lee, have signed a consent decree of permanent injunction.

Before entering the consent decree, defendants manufactured and distributed ready-to-eat Asian food products, including kimchi (a fermented Korean vegetable dish), and side dishes called ban chan, some of which contain seafood.

The consent decree restrains Sungwon Inc. and Lee from processing food until the company complies with the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. The company also is restrained from processing seafood until it complies with the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations.

"By imposing this injunction, the FDA is helping to prevent health risks for consumers of certain seafood products,” said Dara A. Corrigan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “Until Sungwon meets the current good manufacturing practice requirements for foods and the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point regulations it will no longer be able to process or distribute their products."

During the agency’s most recent inspection, in October of 2010, FDA investigators issued Lee a 15-item list of inspectional observations. The violations included failure to exclude pests from the food processing area to prevent contamination with bacteria and filth, and failure to have and implement adequate written seafood HACCP plans. The defendants failed to comply. The violations are similar to those observed by the FDA and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in previous inspections of the facility.


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