U.S. Marshals raided Duran & Sons Chili Products in Derry, New Mexico last week. Marshals seized chili pods, ground chili, crushed chili, and other chili products located in their food warehouse.
An FDA inspection of the company’s facility found that the warehouse was infested with rodents, birds, and cats, along with bird nesting, bird droppings, feces and urine from other animals, live and dead insects, and insect larvae throughout the premises.
“The alleged violations at this facility are serious and widespread,” Dara A. Corrigan, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a press release. “This prompted the FDA to take aggressive enforcement action to protect the health of consumers.”
“It was pretty much a shock to me, we’d been cooperating fully with FDA,” Duran and Sons LLC owner Carl Duran told CBS News of the seizure, “We’ve taken steps to correct the problems FDA found.” Duran also told CBS News that his chili products were only distributed locally in the Derry, New Mexico area.
The FDA will need to do more to bolster its image than seize chili pods from a small pepper farm who distributes to a handful of people in a local farming community.
Last August, over a half-billion salmonella contaminated eggs were recalled that were distributed to retailers nationwide. Even though most of the eggs came from a company, Wright County Egg, whose owner was a habitual offender in three states, violating human rights, labor rights, environmental laws, and animal cruelty laws, the FDA and USDA were clueless.
The FDA also intentionally thwarted the most potentially powerful weapon against salmonella by rejecting standard vaccination of hens against salmonella, claiming there was not enough evidence vaccinations would prevent people from getting sick.
Meanwhile, the stalled food safety bill was suddenly revived in the Senate late on Sunday evening. “In a parliamentary move laid out on the Senate floor by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just after 7pm, the Senate took the food safety language that was passed as part of a stop-gap budget plan by the House, attached it to another House-passed bill and approved that by unanimous consent.”
Depending on what passed in the bill’s language, the FDA may now be able to heavily regulate small family farmers, farmer’s markets, organic growers, and local suppliers, in the same way as large corporate owned industrial facilities at the root of massive food recalls.
If the new authority issued to the the FDA is unfairly enforced on small farmers, the FDA’s authority can be used as a weapon by a handful of big multinational agri-corporations (who dictate FDA policy) to crush competition and monopolize control of food growers in every neighborhood across the county.