FDA Shuts Down Chicago Tofu Maker After Finding Rodents, Food Safety Violations

A permanent injunction stems from 2018 inspections that found rodents, pests and filth among unsanitary facility conditions.

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The US Food and Drug Administration announced Sept. 15 that it has levied a permanent injuction against Chicago-based Fortune Food Product, a producer of tofu and sprouts products, alleging that the supplier hadn’t corrected several food safety violations first recorded by FDA inspectors in 2018.

In July 2018, the FDA issued a warning letter to Fortune stating that early 2018 inspections found “significant evidence of rodent activity and insanitary conditions and Tofu Tubs600x600practices” in the company’s farm mixed-type facility. The agency also noted witnessing a Fortune employee harvesting mung bean sprouts that had fallen to the floor where employees were walking. Rodent activity was observed in various parts of the operation, including an adjacent tofu processing room, while “pests and their filth, in conjunction with movement of workers and equipment,” were likely sources of contamination.

Additionally, the FDA said that 2018 inspection revealed multiple tofu products and soybean noodle products were misbranded.

That 2018 warning letter addressed corrective actions Fortune had to take to achieve compliance with a number of regulations. It also acknowledged that Fortune promptly responded to the FDA’s inspections with corrective actions it was taking, including employee training and the implementation of an environmental monitoring program, maintenance schedule, environmental sampling program and cleaning and sanitation schedule.

But those actions have apparently not yet been resolved. The FDA’s new permanent injunction is the first such action against a firm or grower for violating public safety standards under the Produce Safety Rule enacted under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. It prohibits Fortune from growing, harvesting, packing and holding sprouts and soy products at or from their facility or any other facility until certain requirements are met.

The FDA noted that it is not aware of any confirmed illnesses related to Fortune’s products. 

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