FDA Seizes $1.5 Million Worth of Food from "Filthy" Supplement Ingredients from Warehouse

May 14, 2009

FDA says federal agents have seized more than $1.5 million worth of herbs, botanicals, and other ingredients used in dietary supplements that were being stored in “filthy” conditions.

FDA says federal agents have seized more than $1.5 million worth of herbs, botanicals, and other ingredients used in dietary supplements that were being stored in “filthy” conditions.

U.S. Marshals, acting at the direction of FDA, targeted the American Mercantile Corporation of Memphis, Tenn. An FDA inspection of the facility in March 2009 uncovered evidence of widespread insect and rodent infestation throughout the warehouse. When the company failed to clean up the mess on its own and comply with FDA orders regarding the cleanliness of the facility, the food stored there was seized under a warrant issued by the United States District Court.

“FDA will not tolerate a company’s failure to adequately control and prevent filth in its facility,” said Michael Chappell, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA is prepared to use whatever legal means are necessary and appropriate to keep potentially contaminated products out of the marketplace.”

American Mercantile Corp. stores and processes food ingredients used in dietary supplements and herbal teas made by other companies, FDA said. The products seized include sarsaparilla, spearmint leaves, cornstarch, sweet orange peels powder, licorice powder, sassafras, and salt.