United States Marshals seized more than 25,000 bulk bags and boxes of ready-to-eat spices and food additives Friday because they were being held in unsanitary conditions in Miami.

The seizure at Lyden Spice Corporation, on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration, involved spices including red chili and sesame seeds, and food additives such as monosodium glutamate, according to a notice from the FDA. The products were exposed to widespread rodent infestation as well as other hazards including insects.

Working with the FDA, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging that the food products at Lyden Spice Corporation’s facility were adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. It requested that the food products be condemned and forfeited to the United States.

The complaint filed in the federal court alleges unsanitary conditions were found during an inspection of Lyden Spice Corporation that the FDA conducted between June 8 and June 28 this year. That inspection revealed conditions including rodent feces too numerous to count on and around pallets with containers of food, evidence of rodent gnawing and urine on food containers, and rodent nesting material between food pallets. 

The FDA investigators also saw live and dead insects on food packaging, as well as apparent bird droppings in the food storage area.

“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 Janet Woodcock, M.D.

“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.”

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