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April 13, 2013

Feds Seize $1 Million In Food From NY Kosher Food Manufacturer

KojelThe government’s claims arose from an investigation conducted by the FDA which revealed widespread rodent infestation, other insanitary conditions, and issues with V.I.P.’s building structure which provide entryway for insects and rodents. The complaint alleges that FDA inspectors observed live and dead rodents, rodent-gnawed containers of food, rodent nests within pallets of food and packaging materials, rodent excreta pellets too numerous to count scattered throughout V.I.P.’s premises, and rodent urine stains on and around food product and food product packaging.

Kojel

Approximately $1 Million Worth Of Food Products Seized From V.I.P. Foods, Inc.’s Ridgewood, New York Facility


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 12, 2013 (USDOJ)

Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, today announced the unsealing of a civil complaint and the seizure of approximately $1,000,000 worth of food products from V.I.P. Foods, Inc. (“V.I.P.”) pursuant to a warrant issued by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.  The complaint alleges that V.I.P. violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 301, et seq.  The suit seeks forfeiture and condemnation of the adulterated food products.

V.I.P., based in Ridgewood, New York, is a manufacturer, warehouse, and repacker of various formulated dried mixes and bases such as chicken soup base, blueberry muffin mix, pancake mix, and flavored mashed potatoes.  V.I.P.’s products are distributed under various names including V.I.P. Foods, VIP Foods, and KoJel.  V.I.P. also distributes products under private label.

The government’s claims arose from an investigation conducted by the FDA which revealed widespread rodent infestation, other insanitary conditions, and issues with V.I.P.’s building structure which provide entryway for insects and rodents.  The complaint alleges that FDA inspectors observed live and dead rodents, rodent-gnawed containers of food, rodent nests within pallets of food and packaging materials, rodent excreta pellets too numerous to count scattered throughout V.I.P.’s premises, and rodent urine stains on and around food product and food product packaging.

“VIP’s warehouse was a picnic ground for rodents, and the company failed utterly in its obligation to provide food deemed safe for human consumption.  Those who store, package, and sell the food we serve our families have a responsibility to maintain basic standards of cleanliness in their facilities.  We are committed to protecting the public from health risks and ensuring that food manufacturers comply with the federal laws prohibiting them from preparing, packing, and holding food products under unsanitary conditions,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. 

The government’s case is being litigated by Assistant United States Attorney Melanie D. Hendry.

The New York Times City Room blog adds:

…The F.D.A. seized the foodstuffs from V.I.P.’s Ridgewood, Queens, headquarters on March 19, after inspectors visited on multiple occasions between October and February, according to a complaint filed last month in federal court.

On Oct. 25, 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 complaint says.

After receiving notice of the violations, V.I.P. told the F.D.A. that the problems were fixed, but when inspectors returned in February, they found the same problems, the complaint states.…

[Hat Tip: dannyb of harlem.]

Comments

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How can i found out who are thier private labels?

Um, Yuk!

What's worse than finding a rodent pellet in an apple? My G-d I can't believe I'm trying to laugh this off. I'm the kind of guy that cleans the bathroom sink after every use. Paper towel under the liquid soap dispenser. Purell dispenser mounted on the wall in the kitchen. I'm not OCD but hygiene is very important to me, as is Frumkeit. How the H*ll am I supposed to rationalize this? I am to trust mashgichim for the sake of my spirit but they don't give a rat's a** (literally) about my physical well being??? We were so much better off living in tiny shtetl communities where relationships mattered, you knew who was decent, who was a drunk, who was a jerk, and who was a crook. And there were no economies of scale to theft, control, and even holocha. I don't know who to trust any more. I feel like I'm just done with all of this. Asside from getting Semicha, buying a farm, learning to shecht, and being my kid's own Mohel, and Paskening my own shailas, there's not much else I see as a viable solution.

There is no nutritional value in this "food" anyhow. It's all crap. (literally and figuratively)

Observant Jews would not do such things. The owners must me atheists.

Ben - It's not so much the owners, but the Mashgichim! How can they let this happen???

Not a problem- if it's a glatt rat.

what's the problem. It says Kosher for Passover on the box.

as long as the male rats and female rats did not mix dance the Mashgichim did not see any problem

Lousy humor here!

This is so nasty. Why weren't operations stopped back in October??!! Meh, we'll just tell those stupid goyim we fixed the problem and they'll go away.....

I have worked in a few restaurants, I tell the owner there are mice/rats, he doesn't do a damn thing.

Can you explain this ? Once a customer told me she saw one, I said I will tell the owner.

People don't seem to care.

The health dept. isn't much help. This is why I almost never eat out. Sorry to tell you, but just about any place has this problem. (Kosher and non-Kosher).

I think most people know this but 'forget'

It's not the Mashgiach's fault.

If he tells the owner and the owner doesn't care?

He should tell the Kashrus agency. They might pull the certificate after investigating but I doubt they would spend the time. They may call the owner and ask them to fix the problem, that's as far as it would go.

that's what i call' kosher ' with a mashgiah on the spot to supervise the rodents and rhen , certify everything kosher .

Posted by: Newly Revealed Turd Eater | April 13, 2013 at 09:55 PM

Good news free thinkers, there is a good remedy, don’t follow any of made believe stories. In the minute you come to realize, that the Torah is a work of fiction, you will be an unrestricted sprit.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | April 13, 2013 at 10:10 PM

lol :)

Are the staff supposed to set rat traps? The job was contracted to a third party, and they botched up.

Pretty trayf for a kosher food manufacturer.

everyone there was not being paid enough.
people who are truly happy at work would never
allow such conditions

Devorah is right. Have you ever read the ingredients label on a bottle of gefilte fish?

What is the difference between YL's glatt kosher rat and a glatt kosher rat for Pesach?

Does it mean the rat ate matzo only?

But thank God it wasn't horses' hooves.

the sad part, is the kashrut agencies, go around priding themselves how even gentiles look for kosher symbols with the belief that kosher is somewhat healthier and cleaner. oh! boy, if they only knew.
kashrut, these days, could possibly avoid you consuming inadvertently ground horse meat. though who knows, see the L.A. recent snafu.

"The complaint alleges that FDA inspectors observed [...] rodent-gnawed containers of food, rodent nests within pallets of food and packaging materials, rodent excreta pellets too numerous to count scattered throughout V.I.P.’s premises, and rodent urine stains on and around food product and food product packaging."

So? It's not like rodent excreta urine isn't kosher. In fact it's just like KoJel; it's kosher and and pareve.

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