A federal court has shut down a seafood processor in Portland and South Portland following several recalls in the past two years of its cooked lobster meat product.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty Tuesday filed an injunction in U.S. District Court against Portland Shellfish Co., citing unsanitary conditions at its processing plants, according to the Portland Press Herald. Documents filed with the court allege the company has repeatedly violated federal food safety laws since 2001 and failed to create and follow a food safety oversight plan. The company's cooked lobster meat has been found to contain bacteria called Listeria monocytogenese, which causes the fatal disease listeriorsis. The plants ceased operating Tuesday while a federal judge reviews the motion.
Portland Shellfish has issued four voluntary recalls in two contamination episodes since 2008, and company founder and President Jeffrey Holden said he was not aware of anyone becoming ill from the company's product.
Holden said the company plans to comply fully with conditions set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and that it has already improved sanitation at both facilities. The facilities, which employ 150 people, are expected to reopen soon once the FDA clears them to resume operations, Holden told the paper.
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