Michigan Food Manufacturer Will Stop Production After Repeat Food Violations

Home Style Foods, Inc. has agreed to discontinue selling food products until the company complies with federal regulations and other standards.

As of January 13 of this year, Home Style Foods, Inc. and the company’s owner, Michael J. Kowalski, and quality manager, Juan Valesquez, agreed to discontinue food sales for the time being. The company will not resume distributing and selling products until it complies with regulations and standards, as was settled in the injunction between the U.S. and the company.

After several inspections conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) in the company’s food preparation area and violations of seafood safety regulations associated with the processing of fish and fishery products.

“After repeated food safety violations, the FDA worked with the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain this injunction in order to prevent potentially contaminated food from reaching consumers. The company failed to take the appropriate corrective actions resulting in this action,” said FDA Chief Counsel Stacy Cline Amin, J.D. “When a company fails to follow the law, the government will take action to protect the food supply.”

The consent decree by U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox prohibits the defendants from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding, labeling and/or distributing foods at or from their facility, or any other facility, until certain requirements are met. It also requires the defendants to make corrective actions and notify the FDA before any operations resume.

According to the FDA press release, L. mono is a species of disease-causing bacteria. When ingested, people may develop listeriosis—an infection that can have serious adverse effects for consumers, particularly women who are or may become pregnant, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

For a list of listeriosis symptoms and information on the disease, visit the CDC’s webpage on listeriosis.

According to the complaint filed with the consent decree, the FDA inspected the facility seven times between May 2009 and June 2018. During each inspection, the FDA observed significant objectionable conditions. The FDA also found L. mono in the facility in two of the inspections, including the most recent inspection.

The company was given a number of FDA Form 483s and warning letters since 2007, and it repeatedly promised to make corrective actions to address the objectionable conditions. However, the FDA’s June 2018 inspection showed that Home Style Foods, Inc. has failed to make corrections.

The complaint was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the FDA.

The FDA is not aware of any confirmed illnesses related to these products. However, consumers who think they may have been sickened by these products should seek the assistance of a health care professional and contact the FDA to report problems with any FDA-regulated products.

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