New Castle News

Updates

May 30, 2014

Company won't be cited for thawed, contaminated food

NEW CASTLE — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture said no citations will be issued for thawed, contaminated food intercepted by police this week.

Samantha Elliott Krepps, department press secretary, said New Sheng Hung Inc., a Cleveland company, agreed to destroy approximately 2,000 pounds of food that had been bound for delivery to local restaurants.

Mahoning Township police stopped the box truck on West State Street about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.

During a routine inspection, officers found that the refrigeration unit, used to keep the food frozen, was not working. The internal temperature of the items, police said, was greater than 60 degrees.

Officers said the cargo was completely thawed and cross contamination with the remaining cargo was observed in the truck. Food also was stored improperly, with meat stored above vegetables, Krepps said.

None of the food was delivered in Pennsylvania, she said. The department notified Ohio agriculture officials that the truck had completed deliveries to several restaurants in Ohio prior to being stopped, Krepps added.

Pennsylvania deliveries had been scheduled for several area restaurants — Golden Wok, China Banquet Buffet and Great Wall, all in New Castle; Main Moon Buffet in Sharon; and Top’s Buffet and China Wok in the Sharon/Hermitage area.

The department said Ohio restaurants had received deliveries from the truck — Golden Bowl in Struthers and Little Hunan in Austintown as well as House of China, Grand Buffet, Sawa Steak House, Shangrila Buffet and Bamboo Garden, but specific locations were not provided for those.

The driver told officers he had begun his trip from the Cleveland area at 9 a.m. and was enroute to the six restaurants in the New Castle and Sharon areas.

Police said paperwork indicated the truck was transporting meat, dairy and vegetable products.

A representative from the department of agriculture was dispatched to the scene and inspected the food, which was determined to be unsafe for human consumption.

It was discarded into a secure trash bin and disposed of by the Mahoning Township police department, officials said.

The truck was towed to an impound lot.

Krepps said that in an effort to protect restaurants, retailers and the public from contaminated food, the department had launched “Code RED” — Refrigerated Enforcement Detail — in April 2013.

It is a joint effort by the department of agriculture and the Pennsylvania State Police to catch refrigerated trucks that are transporting food in unsafe conditions. When the trucks are stopped for other violations or inspections, police are trained to check for food safety conditions and notify agriculture officials if they are unsatisfactory.

Mahoning police were assisted by the Pennsylvania state police motor carrier enforcement unit and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

In a similar incident Aug. 15, news media reported the Ohio State Patrol in Butler County, Ohio, confiscated thousands of pounds of rotting food being transported from Cincinnati to the Mahoning and Shenango valleys after stopping a truck for traffic violations.

(Email: grzebieniak@ncnewsonline.com)

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