AUGUSTA, Maine — The state has ordered a small Coopers Mills producer of turkey wontons, egg rolls and dumplings to pull those items from store shelves as state officials have apparently placed closer scrutiny on smaller poultry operations.
Angela Fagin said the state called her last Tuesday with the notification that she could no longer produce turkey products that her company, Jyang-Lee’s Kitchen, has sold for the past 19 years. A statement from the Maine Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Program said the recall was voluntary, which Fagin contested.
“I thought our government supported small business,” Fagin said in a telephone interview, objecting to the term “recall” because there were no health problems reported in connection to the product.
A representative from the state’s poultry program did not return a request for comment after the program issued a release about Jyang-Lee’s Kitchen late Wednesday afternoon. The department said no illnesses were reported in connection with the company’s recalled foods, which include its 15-count turkey wonton, 6-count turkey egg roll and 12-count turkey dumpling packages.
Fagin said her products were sold in 10 to 15 stores, from which she took back around 300 packages.
The state department said Wednesday that an investigation began after an inspector with the Maine Meat and Poultry Inspection Program saw the company’s products being sold without the proper seal. Inspectors found the company had not been issued a grant of inspection with state or federal regulators and its foods had not undergone the proper review.
Melissa Weston, co-owner of the only state-inspected poultry plant, Weston’s Meats, said in a phone interview Wednesday that the state inspection agency appears to be placing greater scrutiny on small poultry producers.
“They’re starting to really pay attention to the backyard farmers that are processing on their own,” Weston said, noting that inspection exemptions for small farmers became a hot-button issue during the last legislative session in bills regarding poultry, milk and produce.
Fagin said state officials suggested she work with a larger company certified for state or federal inspection to make her products, but she said that she wouldn’t be able to support such an effort financially.
She said she’s not sure what the next steps for her business are.
The department said consumer complaints can be addressed to the agency at 207-287-3841.