ATLANTA – Authorities seized nearly $1 million worth of cookies, crackers and other packaged food that was bound for jails and prisons throughout the Southeast after rodents were found at an unlicensed Georgia warehouse, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said Thursday.
The Mid-States Services Inc. warehouse shipped to six Georgia facilities, though their names were not immediately released. FDA spokesman Ira Allen would not say which out-of-state facilities received products, citing proprietary protections.
It was unclear whether anyone would face criminal charges. A company official didn't immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.
Oscar Garrison, assistant commissioner for consumer protection with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, said the FDA received a complaint about the facility, and officials discovered it didn't have a license.
Georgia law requires a license for facilities that store, sell or manufacturer food.
"We did not have a license (and) had not been conducting inspections because we did not know they were operating," Garrison said.
According to a press release, FDA and the state sent agents to investigate the facility July 14. Inside, they discovered 14 live rodents, seven dead ones and excessive evidence of contamination including rodent droppings inside food containers and rodent nests. Georgia officials placed all food in the warehouse under a stop sale order the next day.
The firm voluntarily destroyed some of the food suspected to be contaminated, but not all of it, according to the release.
FDA officials said they had not received a written response from management concerning the inspectors' notes by Tuesday, when paperwork was filed in court.
Allen said companies are typically notified both in person and in writing of violations before any enforcement is taken, and have time to fix problems.