07262017Headline:

Charlottesville, Virginia

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Rodent Infestation Causes Closure of Virginia Ice Cream Cone Plant

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The FDA hit close to home – in Virginia – recently with the seizure of ice-cream waffle cones and other related products made in the Waynesboro, Virginia plant of Gourmet Provisions LLC. The warrants were issued by the Western Virginia U.S. District Court after a FDA inspection found “widespread rodent and insect activity, unclean equipment, and structural defects. Effective measures had not been taken to exclude insects and rodents from the facility and to protect food products and food contact surfaces from contamination” (FDA, 9/20/2013)

Gourmet Provisions, LLC, dba Matt’s Supreme Cones, is a nationwide seller of specialty ice cream cones. According to the Reuters article, the website boasted a “Virginia’s Finest” seal. This seal is given to businesses that meet quality standards set up by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Elaine Lidholm, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Agriculture, declined to comment on the legitimacy of the logo displayed by the company. They are investigating and would say nothing more at this time. As of this morning that seal is no longer present on the Matt’s Supreme Cones website, though the company appears to be conducting business as normal.

The manufacturing plant in Waynesboro, VA was also used as a storage facility for Royal Cup, a coffee supply vendor with a client list that includes The Ritz-Carlton, Waffle House, IHOP and Red Lobster. Products from Royal Cup have been also been seized as part of the investigation; the infestation spread from the Gourmet Provisions plant to the adjoining storage space.

“These companies have a responsibility for the safety and quality of their products,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, associate commissioner for regulatory affairs at the FDA. “When firms do not uphold this responsibility, the FDA will take actions that demonstrate its commitment to assuring consumers that foods they buy are prepared, packaged, and held under sanitary conditions.” (FDA)

According to the FDA no illnesses have been associated with these products to date. Illnesses or adverse events related to use of these products should be reported to the FDA at caers@fda.hhs.gov or by calling 240-402-2405.