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Juice Maker Shut Down for 'Grossly Insanitary Conditions'

And some of it wound up in school lunch programs.

The Food and Drug Administration this week announced a settlement with a Washington state juice producer over unsanitary conditions and contaminated products.

The FDA said a federal judge, at its request, entered a consent decree between the agency and Sunnyside, Washington-based Valley Processing Inc. — and its owner and president — to halt the distribution of adulterated juice products.

The FDA previously filed a complaint alleging that Valley’s juice products contained inorganic arsenic and patulin toxins at levels that could pose health risks to consumers.

During an inspection, FDA investigators found that Valley processed juice under “grossly insanitary conditions” and failed to adhere to relevant food safety standards, including storing grape juice concentrate contaminated with filth and mold in off-site storage tanks and covered barrels outside its facility for several years. Valley reportedly combined the contaminated juice concentrate with newer lots and distributed the mixture to consumers — which included school lunch programs.

The FDA complaint said that Valley promised to discontinue using that juice, but a follow-up inspection indicated that the company continued to use it.

The permanent injunction decree bars Valley Processing from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding, labeling and/or distributing FDA-regulated products unless it completes corrective actions — and it must destroy any juice still in its possession.

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