The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to the Nashville-based airline caterer Gourmet Catering to Go after inspectors found mold, E. coli and dead roaches near its kitchen. Based on those and other unsanitary conditions, the FDA determined that the RTE products manufactured at that facility are considered adulterated under the law.

E coli
Low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria.

According to the letter, the FDA found a number of violations including:

  • The FDA said Gourmet Catering did not have hazard analysis or preventative controls in place for allergens or pathogens or have good manufacturing practices in place. For example,
  • An employee handled a trash can and then assembled RTE garden salads without changing gloves.
  • Plastic bins containing clean dishes were visibly soiled with food debris and one contained a dead fly.
  • A buildup of a white mold-like substance and food debris were visible on the lower shelf of food preparation tables where food ingredients are stored.
  • Rodent droppings were found near food containers and lids along the side of the walk-in freezer.
  • Dead roaches were visible in the kitchen area along the wall across from the food prep tables.
  • The lid of a bucket of egg yolks appeared to be stained by blood dripping from raw meat on the shelf stored above it in the cooler.

The company has 15 days to respond to the FDA.

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