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Chung's Foods

Normally grocery stores are good about informing us of product recalls, but this is one case where you might want to let your grocery store know about one product in particular. It’s not a recall, per se – it’s more along the lines of an entire company being forced to shut down until it cleans up its act. Literally.

If you’ve been a couponer for a while, you may know of Houston-based Chung’s Products LP, which makes frozen egg rolls and other Chinese food products. The company is one of the last holdouts that still issues printable coupons in PDF format, which means there’s no limit on how many you can print, or redeem. Its current coupon offer is $.35 off any Chung’s product, which, combined with a good sale, and double or triple coupons, is often enough to get you a freezerful of Chinese food for next to nothing.

But you might want to think twice before using it. Unless you want botulism.

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The U.S. Justice Department announced yesterday the issuance of a permanent injunction against the company, forcing it to stop producing and delivering products until it addresses some serious safety concerns. A U.S. District Court judge “found that the defendants had a long history of violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.” Chung’s is accused of “producing food under insanitary conditions and failing to control for the risks of Clostridium Botulinum, ‘the most potent toxin known to man,’ in their seafood products and a potentially deadly strain of listeria in their manufacturing environment.” The judge concluded that “there is a reasonable possibility that Chung’s food products were both contaminated with filth and unsafe and injurious to health.”

Yuck.

The concerns only apply to seafood products, specifically Chung’s shrimp egg rolls, so its other products should still be okay to eat – if you dare. But since the order doesn’t involve a product recall, you’ll probably still find Chung’s shrimp egg rolls in your grocery store’s frozen food section. Does that mean you should sound the alarm to your grocery store’s staff? That depends. The Justice Department complaint notes that the FDA has had concerns about the company as far back as 2005. And their products apparently haven’t killed anyone yet.

But there’s always a first time. “We will continue to take strong action against those who would risk the safety of the American food supply by manufacturing and storing products under insanitary conditions or flouting important food safety rules,” a Justice Department attorney said. “The Court’s ruling ensures that these defendants will take appropriate steps to ensure that consumers who purchase their foods will receive products that are prepared, packaged and held under sanitary conditions as required by law.”

Chung’s printable coupon doesn’t expire until June 30th. Maybe that’s enough time for them to clean things up and get some more sanitary products back on the shelves. As long as terms like “filth” and “the most potent toxin known to man” haven’t already ruined your appetite.

One Comment

  1. Why do I get the feeling that this action is more about harming the Company (shut-down) than it is about public safety (recall)?

    If the food is SO dangerous is why no recall?
    A LONG HISTORY??? Is this the 1st you have heard about it? & I see that there have been no deaths (phew!) but what about illnesses? Do we have any data on that?

    As usual…I’m suspicious. 🙂

    I’m really glad it isn’t Thai-Kitchen <—-my fave.

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