The FDA has released their Form 483 (PDF), detailing several alarming and insanitary practices at Sally Jackson Cheese’s manufacturing facility that likely contributed to the current raw cheese E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Minnesota residents.
Among the more egregious findings:
- The owner was observed throughout the day doing such things as stirring cheese curds with bare hands, wrapping cheese in grape leaves, and milking/feeding livestock, without hand washing between those activities.
- The owner wore manure soiled clothing during production of cheese, handling of utensils and direct handling of finished product. The owner was observed kneeling in fresh cow manure, while milking a cow outside, then brushed pants with a bare hand and was later observed standing over a bucket of drained curd in the cheese room with the soiled pants coming into direct contact with the edge of the bucket.
- The hand washing sink’s drain pipe and water supply lines were disconnected. Also, the two-compartment processing room sink was not set up for hand washing and there were no towels or soap available at either sink.
- The well water supply for the facility indicated an elevated total coliform level.
- Wood fixtures, walls and floors generally soiled and stained with grime and dirt. The floors had accumulations of manure, mud, straw, wood chips, and other debris. Several areas of the ceiling had black mold-like deposits. Wood shelving, work tables and cheese storage boxes were noted throughout the facility with accumulated product, grime and black mold-like deposits.
- Holes, open cracks, water damage and peeling paint/plaster in several ceiling and upper wall locations directly above exposed cheese on storage shelves. A section of the cheese room ceiling is unfinished with exposed bolts and insulation above the sink and clean utensil storage.