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Federal officials have effectively closed down a New York company after repeatedly finding Listeria in its food production plant, reporting that one of the seven strains of the pathogen in the facility genetically matches infections in at least four people.

The Food and Drug Administration has suspended the food facility registration of SM Fish Corp. of Far Rockaway, NY. The agency had been working with the company to determine the source of Listeria monocytogenes that triggered recalls of Ossie’s brand ready-to-eat products on July 29 and Sept. 15.

Since April this year, FDA staff has collected environmental samples at the production plant during three separate inspections. Lab tests showed at least seven different strains of Listeria monocytogenes from 56 of those samples.

The FDA used whole genome sequencing to match one of those strains to Listeria monocytogenes isolates from four people infected with listeriosis, according to a Sept. 13 letter sent to SM Fish Corp. president Robert J. Schonfeld.

The agency did not provide details about when the four people were sickened or where they live.

“While this order is in effect, pursuant to section 415(b)(4) of the FD&C Act, no person can import or export food into the United States from your facility, offer to import or export food into the United States from your facility, or otherwise introduce food from your facility into interstate or intrastate commerce in the United States,” the letter states.


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