Kenton Cheese Plant Inspected 10 Times Since 2000; No Complaints - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kenton Cheese Plant Inspected 10 Times Since 2000; No Complaints

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KENTON, Del. - A Kenton cheese plant shut down by the Food and Drug Administration due to a Listeria outbreak has been inspected 10 times since the year 2000.

An FDA spokeswoman says during that time, the presence of Listeria was never found at Roos Food's Inc.

The agency also never received complaints.

The recent outbreak left eight people sick. Seven were in Maryland. One died in California.

FDA inspectors found a multitude of violations inside and outside the plant during the inspection that took place between February 18 - March 4, 2014.

According to the report, conditions included:
   
     -The roof leaking so badly that water was raining down into the cheese processing room, including onto the cheese processing equipment and storage tanks;
     -Standing water on the floor throughout the cheese curd processing room in proximity to the cheese vats and in the storage rooms;
    -Metal roof/ceiling and metal supports exhibiting a rusted appearance with metal flaking precluding effective cleaning and sanitizing;
    -Food residues found on equipment after cleaning had been performed;
    -Openings to milk storage tanks and transfer piping were not capped to prevent contaminants from entering or contaminating food contact surfaces; and
    -Floors, wall, and equipment that were deteriorated and in bad repair, including processing equipment and storage vats with rust holes and floors with rough concrete deterioration.

Some who live in Kenton say the closure will impact the town.

"There's not too many businesses that's around," said Jack Dunning of Kenton.

"Everyone is going to be out of a job. I don't know where their going to go. It's going to be rough," said Anna Waecker, a cashier at a Kenton gas station and food mart.

This is the second time the FDA has shut down a plant after it was given the authority to do so in 2011.

A peanut butter factory called Sunland in New Mexico closed after 41 people in 20 states were sickened with salmonella.

Investigators say this is the first time any evidence of Listeria has been present at Roos Foods in a decade, leaving some like Dunning to hope the business bounces back quickly.

"Kenton will survive," said Dunning.

According to the FDA, Roos Foods can have it's suspension lifted and reinstate its registration when investigators determine no health threats are present.
    
For more information on the FDA's findings, log onto   http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm386726.htm

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