Rodents, insects cause food seizure at Miami FL Lyden Spice

A Miami food storage building was raided Friday afternoon by the U.S. Marshals, who walked out with food products that had been “exposed to widespread rodent infestation as well as other pests, such as live and dead insects.”

That’s from the FDA announcement of the action against Lyden Spice, 3675 NW 71st St. The agency said Marshals marched out with “more than 25,000 boxes/bags of bulk ready-to-eat spices and food additives, such as monosodium glutamate, crushed red chili and sesame seeds.”

The FDA says inspections done between June 8 and June 25 found:

“Rodent feces too numerous to count on and around pallets with containers of food;”

“Evidence of rodent gnawing and urine on food containers;”

“Rodent nesting material between food pallets;”

“Live and dead insects on food packaging;”

“Apparent bird droppings in the food storage area.”

FDA inspectors apparently saw what Florida Department of Agriculture inspectors have seen throughout 2021.

Rodents, Stop Sale and Stop Use Orders

State inspectors have noted rodent problems, whether inspecting Lyden or Ocho Rios Miami, which shares the building with Lyden. Lyden’s failed four inspections this year. Ocho Rios has failed six.

Unlike restaurants that fail Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspection, supermarkets, convenience stores and food storage facilities that fail Florida Department of Agriculture inspections don’t get closed altogether. They get re-inspected within 14 days.

Ag Department inspectors can hit equipment and spaces in the business with Stop Use Orders, which means the business can’t use that equipment or those areas. They can put Stop Sale Orders on food. Enough of those orders, particularly the Stop Use Orders, and the business might decide it can’t operate efficiently enough.

Most food storage and distribution companies have several customers. The report of Ocho Rios’ March 26 failed inspection said three pallets of dry goods hit by a Stop Sale Order were headed for Publix and another pallet hit by a Stop Sale was labeled for California for being stored in an area where they might’ve been “adulterated.” The Stop Sale on the Publix goods got lifted in July.

Now, that wasn’t the case with 500 packs of spiced Easter buns, one of which had a bun gnawed by rodents.

Lyden’s most recent failed state inspection, March 29, included this:

“Rodent droppings (too numerous to count) on bagged dry food commodities to include some ready-to-eat products. Also, observed some bagged products, such as dried parsley flakes nibbled and some packaging backs frayed. Packing material of such products if permeable (paper, burlap and white plastic weaved bags) allowing food to be contaminated.”

State records say Ocho Rios, registered with the state since 1987 and run by president Ashton Lue and vice president Michelle Lue, moved to the building between its 2007 and 2008 annual state filing. State records say Lyden Spice, registered with the state in 2014 and run by Jirui Yu, moved to the building in 2019.

“The FDA plays a critical role in safeguarding the U.S. food supply and helping to ensure that our food is not contaminated at any point during its journey along the supply chain,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock. “We take our responsibility seriously and will continue to take action against those who threaten the safety and quality of the products we regulate as a necessary step to protect the public health and the safety of Americans.

“The widespread insanitary conditions found at the Lyden Spice Corporation are disturbing and won’t be tolerated.”

This story was originally published October 3, 2021 11:06 AM.

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.