How would you know if your grocery store’s food distribution warehouse was over-run by rodents? That’s the tricky part about our global food system. Much of the packaged food people buy comes from far and wide. Who knows where it is stored and for how long before it’s shipped to your local grocery store?
Rice, a basic staple for most of the world, and especially for people with wheat allergies, was one of the food products seized in Georgia today by U.S. Marshals under the direction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to an FDA press release.
The Marshals seized an estimated $700,000 worth of rice and other packaged food products from a rodent-infested warehouse operated by Sun Hong Kai Holding Inc., which does business as United Food Service.
According to the press release, “the federal government’s complaint alleges that the products are adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because they have been held under insanitary conditions and may have become contaminated with filth.”
An FDA inspection of the facility at the end of September revealed “an active and widespread rodent infestation, including live and dead rodents within the warehouse where food products are stored,” according to the complaint.
FDA investigators found 28 live rodents, one dead rodent, apparent rodent droppings, 26 apparent rodent gnaw holes in multiple packages of food products, rodent urine stains on food packaging and four rodent nesting sites.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it: What’s going on in warehouses where your food is stored?