Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive



Thursday, October 4, 2001

CORNYN FILES AGAINST FOOD SALVAGE COMPANY

Town Talk Foods of Fort Worth to Operate Only on Limited Basis

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today filed an agreed temporary injunction and lawsuit to remedy several public health violations cited against Town Talk Foods, Inc., and its president, Thomas E. Potthoff. The company, located at 121 N. Beach St. in Fort Worth, is licensed with the Texas Department of Health as a food salvage establishment.

The TDH had previously issued an emergency order on Sept. 4 to keep Town Talk Foods from operating for 30 days. Today's injunction replaces this emergency order to ensure compliance. The TDH conducted an inspection on Sept. 1 after receiving information that six people, who had been admitted to local hospitals with severe symptoms of botulism, had consumed chili purchased at Town Talk.

Potthoff and Town Talk Foods have agreed to terms to address the alleged violations of the Texas Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Texas Food, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Salvage Act. The alleged violations include: storing and selling frozen food and refrigerated products, including frozen meats, in a non-refrigerated warehouse, and creating the potential for contamination; failing to keep potentially hazardous foods at a safe temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below; and failing to properly label salvaged food for sale.

In the agreed temporary injunction, the company agreed to not store and/or sell frozen and refrigerated foods until written standard operating procedures have been reviewed and approved by the TDH and are being implemented. While Town Talk Foods is operating on a limited basis in compliance with this injunction, it is prohibited from engaging in the following practices:

  • Holding or storing potentially hazardous foods at a temperature greater than 41 degrees;
  • Offering merchandise for sale that is distressed or not salvageable;
  • Offering for sale improperly labeled salvaged or packaged food;
  • Using a salvage warehouse to sell to consumers or to recondition or repack merchandise; and
  • Failing to maintain and retain written records of distressed, salvageable, or salvaged merchandise, including a general description, the source of the distressed merchandise, the date received and the type of damage.

The lawsuit was filed in Tarrant County District Court at the request of the Texas Commissioner of Health.

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