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Wednesday, October 4, 2000

CORNYN FILES SUIT AGAINST DALLAS FOOD MANUFACTURER

Attorney General cites numerous health and safety violations

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Dallas Calco, Inc. a/k/a Eastern Tofu ("Calco"), located in Dallas. Calco is a wholesale food establishment which manufactures and distributes food to Chinese restaurants and grocery stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Calco operated without a license issued by the Texas Department of Health (TDH), and after repeated inspections by TDH, Calco failed to remedy numerous deficiencies including insect activity, equipment in poor repair, and labeling and vacuum packaging violations.

"I have repeatedly stated that consumers have the right to purchase and consume food products without worrying about possible contamination. I will continue to fight those companies who disregard health and safety standards," said Attorney General Cornyn.

The lawsuit was filed, at the request of the Texas Commissioner of Health, in State District Court in Dallas County against Dallas Calco, Inc. based on, but not limited to, the following alleged violations:

  • Insect activity in food production and storage areas;
  • Numerous live cockroaches in and around tofu presses;
  • Rust, chipped paint and mold on or around tofu presses;
  • No metal exclusion devices or detectors in tofu processing;
  • Lack of "use by" or valid expiration dates on product labels;
  • Sinks that drain directly onto the floor in food production and storage areas;
  • Unsubstantiated nutritional claims on product labels;
  • Lack of hot water at hand washing sinks;
  • Lack of proper temperature controls in tofu production process; and
  • Numerous building deficiencies which allow rodents, pests and insects access to the warehouse.

TDH conducts inspections of food manufacturers on a periodic basis and is required by law to dispose of and/or detain any food products that constitute an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of the public. TDH will continue to monitor Calco's facility for conditions that pose such a threat. Although the current conditions at the facility do not rise to this level, the potential for contamination along with past violations warrant legal action by the State.

This lawsuit alleges that Calco failed to correct noted deficiencies and protect food products from potential contamination and adulteration in violation of the Texas Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. The State is seeking a temporary and permanent injunction from the court in order to stop the alleged unsanitary conditions as well as civil penalties and money to cover the costs of the State's investigation and attorneys fees.

Assistant Attorney General Ken Kirkpatrick, in the Dallas office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, is handling this case.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050
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