FDA calls out Frito-Lay for possible safety breaches in Tennessee

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Frito-Lay cited for safety breach allegations. Photo credit: FDA
Frito-Lay cited for safety breach allegations. Photo credit: FDA

Related tags Frito-lay Cookies Cookie

The US Food and Drug Administration has censured Frito-Lay for a leaky roof, dirty facility and possible cross contamination of manufactured food at a Tennessee snack food facility.

A warning letter, dated August 4, 2015, was sent to Tom Rao, Frito-Lay’s regional vice president of operation and was critical of operation in the company’s Pulaski, Tennessee, factory.

Ruth P. Dixon, district director of the FDA’s New Orleans District, wrote the letter and claimed Frito-Lay violated the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements in Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Human Food, Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110 (21 CFR 110).

What were the issues?

The building, its fixtures and other aspects have fallen into disrepair, she said. This included:

  • Water leaks directly over exposed product
  • Air duct over pretzel processing wrapped in duct tape and plastic sheeting
  • Numerous spots of paint missing on the ceiling above processing lines where cookies and crackers were mixed and transferred
  • Incline conveyer that transfers popcorn from processing to packaging with missing paint chips directly above ready-to-eat product, as well as a water hose bib leaking onto processing floor within five feet of equipment
  • “Apparent chocolate chip cookie dough” leaking from a pinch point on the dough hopper near processing line
  • “At least” three cheese filling machines had areas of adhering product leaking from pump seals
  • Mezzanine floors above the pretzel and popcorn area soiled with product, dust and debris

 In addition, the conveyer belt and support rollers of the processing line of Grandma’s Large Vanilla Cream cookies “appeared to be soiled with adhering food,”​ falling into read to eat cookie wafers.

Dixon said it was imperative for Frito-Lay to correct these actions, as the FDA may take further action if they did not, including seizing product or stopping the company from operation.

Frito-Lay’s response

As of Wednesday afternoon, Frito-Lay and its parent company, PepsiCo, did not return requests for comment from BakeryandSnacks.com.

A company spokesman told Bloomberg that the company was surprised to get the letter.

Chris Kuechenmeister, vice president of Communications with Frito-Lay, said the company’s assessment “differs from the agency’s characterizations,”​ but said they have worked to address the report’s concerns. He said they look forward to having the matter resolved quickly.

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