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Thursday, October 5, 2000

CORNYN ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH FORMOSA FOODS

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced the filing of a final judgment and agreed permanent injunction against Formosa Foods, located in Dallas.

In July the state sued Formosa Foods, a wholesale food establishment which distributes food to Chinese restaurants and grocery stores in Texas and four other states, for operating under grossly unsanitary conditions. The lawsuit alleged that Formosa Foods failed to correct deficiencies noted by the Texas Department of Health (TDH) and failed to protect food products from contamination and adulteration in violation of the Texas Food Drug and Cosmetic Act.

"When Texans purchase food, they should expect it to be safe and free of contaminants," said Attorney General Cornyn. "This office has grave concerns about any food distributor that violates that trust by disregarding public health issues. We will continue to go after those companies that violate our public health laws."

The judgment includes a permanent injunction against Formosa Foods and requires the payment of $200,000 in civil penalties, costs of inspections, attorneys fees and court costs to the state. The judgment requires Formosa Foods to correct unsanitary conditions by:

  • Taking effective measures to protect against the entrance, breeding, and presence of rodents, insects and other vermin at the facility;
  • Protecting product from contamination while being stored and contained on the business premises;
  • Having an approved seafood safety plan for live shellfish stock and shucked shellfish to assure product safety;
  • Providing adequate drainage to keep water and mud off the floors;
  • Keeping hand-washing and toilet facilities, including rooms and fixtures, in clean condition and good repair with running hot water at all times; and
  • Disposing of damaged and contaminated food.

TDH, which referred this case to the Attorney General, has been inspecting Formosa Foods to monitor corrective actions taken by this company. Although TDH required the immediate disposal of any contaminated product when originally found, Formosa Foods' repairs and corrections will protect against additional unsanitary violations.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Joyce Wein Iliya, in the Dallas office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.

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