Chinese Food Distributor Cited by FDA Over Rodents, Birds

Chopsticks on Chinese food container
Tom Grill
A food company that distributes products to Asian restaurants throughout the East and into the Midwest was cited for numerous violations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after rodents and other pests were found in a warehouse.

A just-released letter -- sent earlier this month from the FDA to Brooklyn, New York-based New Yung Wah Trading Co. -- detailed an Oct. 15-30 inspection that found less-than-sanitary conditions including live and dead rodents and birds "landing and defecating on stored food products." The company appears to mainly ship to Chinese restaurants and has distribution facilities in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Among the findings in the inspection of the company's McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, warehouse:
  • A rodent's nest with multiple rodents in a plastic-lined box in a cooler that had thawing rib meat on top of melons.
  • Four dead rodents.
  • Birds flying throughout the warehouse.
  • A pallet of pineapples in boxes gnawed on by rodents, an apparent nest they made and rodent feces.
  • Rodent feces in a cooler.
  • A path of rodent feces leading to a hole in a bag of flour.
  • Rodent feces, urine and nests in and around bags of monosodium glutamate.
  • Workers smoking while handling food being prepared for distribution.

In addition, FDA inspectors said they found and identified other problems that didn't appear to be addressed, including a floor drain that didn't drain, causing puddles of standing water. Another problem, the FDA said, was the use rodent poison without taking precautions to keep it from contaminating food.

Problems Throughout the Warehouse

"This rodenticide was placed on plastic plates next to stored food products along the exterior walls of the facility," the FDA said.

And the entire warehouse was so densely packed with bags of food, the FDA said, that those working there couldn't inspect for rodents. The FDA letter said: "Pallets storing food products were stacked approximately two high and six to eight deep, covering an area of approximately 3000 square feet. The pallets were stacked directly against one another, which did not allow adequate spacing to inspect or observe possible rodent activity."

The FDA noted that the company claimed it had taken actions to fix the violations, yet it provided no evidence of that.

"FDA has serious concerns that our investigators found your firm operating under these conditions," the FDA letter said. "Further, your response states that your firm is committed to maintaining and operating a facility which provides the highest quality service to its customers and to the consuming public. We do not consider this response acceptable because you failed to provide documentation for our review, which demonstrates your noted corrective actions. This documentation may include photographs, invoices, work orders, voluntary destruction records, certification of actions performed by a licensed exterminator, other actions performed to control unauthorized entrance of pests, and/or any other useful information that would assist us in evaluating your corrections."

Earlier this year, the company was in hot water from Pennsylvania officials after an Ohio-bound delivery truck with 150 pounds of spoiled food headed for Chinese and Japanese restaurants was intercepted by police. The fish, chicken and pork was allegedly at unsafe temperatures, between 58 degrees and 68 degrees, and dripping onto other food causing cross contamination, Pennsylvania officials told the Sharon Herald.

New Yung Wah did not immediately respond to a request from DailyFinance to comment.

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