The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that, on behalf of the agency, the U.S. Marshals Service has conducted a mass seizure of FDA-regulated products that were being held under insanitary conditions in which they were exposed to widespread rodent, insect and live animal infestation.
The seizure occurred Nov. 7 and 8 at J and L Grocery in Alma, Arkansas. The company receives, salvages, warehouses and distributes various products obtained through brokers within the salvage market. The products seized at the property included human and animal food products, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, cosmetic products and medical devices. A significant number of the OTC drug products were also beyond their stated expiration dates.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed the complaint on behalf of the FDA in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas alleging that the seized products are adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
"The widespread insanitary conditions found at J and L Grocery is alarming and won't be tolerated," said the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb, M.D. "At this time, we're unaware of adverse events associated with the use of products purchased at J and L Grocery. The work of our field force and the goals of our vigorous oversight efforts are to find these kinds of potential hazards and intervene before consumers are harmed. We're committed to that mission. Our consumer protection role is the bedrock of the FDA's culture. We'll continue to take action against adulterated products as necessary to protect the public health and the safety of Americans."
The complaint alleges that an inspection of J and L Grocery that the FDA conducted in September and October 2018 revealed insanitary conditions including multiple live and dead rodents, rodent nesting, live raccoons, live cats, a dead possum, animal feces, and urine-stained products in and around the company's seven warehouses and sheds used to store food, medical products and cosmetics.
The FDA issued two Administrative Detention Orders at J and L Grocery, dated October 9 and 19, 2018. The orders called for the detention of all human and animal food products in plastic, paper or cardboard packaging and drugs, respectively, after the FDA witnessed widespread vermin, insect, and live animal activities during the most recent inspection. Under its administrative detention authority, the FDA can detain food and drug products if the agency has reason to believe the products are adulterated or misbranded. The agency can keep detained products out of the marketplace for up to 30 days in certain circumstances.