November 11, 2019
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Repeated safety violations shut down Hancock seafood processor

BANGOR, Maine — A Hancock seafood processor has been shut down due to food safety violations dating as far back as 2004, according to documents filed last week in U.S. District Court.

Mill Stream Corp., which does business as Sullivan Harbor Farm, and its owner, Ira Frantzman, became the subject of a consent decree of permanent injunction after inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found serious violations at the company’s processing facility, where its smoked fish products were made.

The company’s products include refrigerated, vacuum-packed cold and hot smoked salmon, charr, mussels and scallops sold mostly to wholesale customers in Boston and Washington, D.C., but also at its retail store and at the Ironbound Restaurant and Inn in Hancock.

The complaint alleges that the company violated federal food safety law by selling fish products “that have been prepared, packed or held under unsanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to health.”

According to the complaint, the FDA has been inspecting the facility since 2004 and has cited repeated violations of food safety law and regulations.

In the most recent inspection, conducted in March and April of last year, inspectors found that the company failed to show that salt levels in water used in processing fish were high enough to control the bacteria that causes listeria and botulism, and that it failed to show that fish were kept at safe temperatures.

Inspectors also found that surfaces were not cleaned as often as necessary, that black mold was growing on the wooden doorframe for the walk-in freezer and that the company failed to keep pests out of the plant, noting that FDA investigators “observed rodent excreta pellets too numerous to count on the floor in an area where smoker trays are washed and dried.”

It was not immediately clear if the smokehouse will reopen. The company was closed on Sunday.

“We have been in the midst of upgrading to serve you better. We’re happily accepting orders for late February delivery,” the company said on its website.

The company settled the case without admitting or denying the allegations.

In order to reopen, the company must retain, at its own cost, an independent lab to test salt levels and product and environmental samples for the presence of listeria monocytogenes, and an independent expert qualified to develop adequate hazardous analysis and critical control point plans as well as adequate written sanitation standard operating procedures, among other things.

It also must develop and conduct employee training programs and clean and sanitize its facility and equipment.



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