Agency wants NYC salad maker shuttered

August 3, 2010 2:47:13 PM PDT
The owner of a prepared salad manufacturing plant in Brooklyn is fighting FDA's attempt to shutdown his facility for failing to correct several health violations.

When visiting New York Gourmet Salads in Sunset Park Brooklyn, an FDA inspector found a bacteria called Listeria in a drain and in a 20-pound container of chickpea salad.

Listeria can cause sickness in pregnant women and newborns; serious infections can even be fatal.

A federal injunction was filed to permanently shut the business down. According to the FDA, "Food was prepared, packed or held under unsanitary conditions and may have become contaminated with filth."

The FDA says New York Gourmet Salads failed to correct violations since 2006. However, Lenny Spada, president of the company, said he's done everything the FDA has asked him to do.

"I spent $50,000 of to comply with the FDA," said Spada.

Some of the FDA'S citations included food residue between the processing tables and the walls, holes in the walls, and no hot water at hand washing stations.

To improve the cleaning process, the company reportedly added a disinfectant foam spray for the floors, walls, and doors. Spada says he also restrain the staff of food handling to ten workers.

As for the chickpea salad, Spada issued a brief recall, but the FDA allowed him resume selling it.

His attorneys are currently trying stopping the injunction.

"I'm going to fight this. I'm not going anywhere. I've been doing this for 30 years. There's no way I'm going to let them shut me down. If this was something bad, I'd walk away, but this is not bad. This is clean and something that I love to do," said Spada.