$1m inventory at kosher food manufacturer seized over rodent infestation
New York authorities shutter foodmaker VIP because of rat infestation in its food production sites.
A kosher food manufacturer reportedly had $1 million in inventory seized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration due to “widespread rodent infestation.”
According to a New York Times blog published Friday, federal prosecutors seized the foodstuffs from V.I.P Foods’ Ridgewood, Queens, headquarters on March 19.
V.I.P, who manufactures products for KoJel kosher foods, was reportedly inspected several times between October 2012 and February 2013.
On a visit in October, inspectors “observed over 1,200 rodent excreta pellets, at least 4 live and dead mice, and rodent-gnawed containers of food,” as well as rodent urine stains on and around foodstuffs, the New York Times blog quoted a federal court complaint as saying.
The complaint, which was filed in March, reportedly added that VIP told the Food and Drug Administration that the problems had been fixed, but inspectors who returned in February found that this was not so.
“V.I.P’s warehouse was a picnic ground for rodents, and the company failed utterly in its obligation to provide food deemed safe for human consumption,” Loretta Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement cited by the New York Times.
According to V.I.P’s website, the company was founded in 1983, merged with KoJel in the mid-1980s, and remains privately owned and operated. It produces dry mixes including chicken soup base, instant pudding and hot chocolate.