Feds Sue MN Co. Over Alleged Seafood Violations

The government claims in a lawsuit that even after inspections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a Brooklyn Park-based grocery wholesaler continued to sell unsafe seafood.

The federal government is suing a local food company, asking that the business be prohibited from importing, processing, and selling unsafe seafood products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday.

In a civil lawsuit filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, the government alleges that Brooklyn Park-based BCS African Wholesale Food Supply, LLC, and its leaders have sold unsafe food products. The company imports specialty products, such as tilapia from China and bony fish from New York that originated in the Ivory Coast. It then sells the seafood, which is prepared, packed, or held under unsanitary conditions, through a retail store and wholesale distribution, according to the FDA.

“This company has ignored warnings by FDA and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture by continuing to sell seafood that puts the consumer's health at risk,” Dara A. Corrigan, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

The FDA claims that BCS African Wholesale has violated Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations, which require businesses to analyze food products and ensure they meet safety standards.

The FDA sent BCS African Wholesale a warning letter last July, following an inspection of the company's facility that found hazardous seafood products. The company told the FDA that it was no longer selling unsafe fish, but a second inspection conducted two months later found that the company was still selling the dangerous products, the FDA said.

When reached by phone on Thursday morning, BCS African Wholesale directed all questions to its attorney, who was not available for comment. However, Stanley Jide, the company's president and co-owner, told the Star Tribune that his company has “done everything they said needed to be done,” and it has hired an outside food safety contractor to create an HACCP program and then teach workers how to follow it.