People of Northwest Public Radio
Mon April 9, 2012
FDA Shuts Down Del Bueno Cheese Producer
The Food and Drug Administration has shut down a family-owned Mexican style cheese producer in Washington. FDA inspectors say Del Bueno isn’t doing enough to prevent Listeria contamination in its products, even after several recalls. Del Bueno distributes a variety of cheeses to Hispanic food stores across Eastern Washington, the Seattle area, and parts of Oregon.
Jesus Rodriguez and his parents operate Del Bueno out of Grandview, Wash. He says it will cost thousands of dollars to comply with the FDA’s demands.
Jesus Rodriguez: “We were planning to go ahead and do what they asked us to do. But I think my dad’s last decision was just to close. He doesn’t think we can make it through. We don’t have enough money to start back up again.”
Rodriguez says the business produced about 80,000 pounds of cheese a month before the FDA shut it down in March. He disputes the FDA’s findings that there were chronic problems.
FDA officials linked Del Bueno to a Listeria infection in Washington in 2010. The agency says both state and federal inspectors have repeatedly warned the company of unsanitary conditions in its processing facility.
Though Listeria infection is rare, the FDA says it’s one of the leading causes of death from foodborne illness.
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