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Lawsuit Claims Detroit Sandwiches Made in Filthy Conditions

December 5, 2014 — Ready-to-eat sandwiches sold in gas stations and convenience stores under the Bruce Fresh Products brand may have been prepared in unsanitary conditions, according to a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the FDA.

The sandwiches have not been linked to any reports of food poisoning, but the FDA is concerned about public safety.

Scotty’s Incorporated, doing business as Bruce Enterprises and Bruce’s Fresh Products, was hit with a lawsuit on November 21 in federal court in Michigan.

Since 2006, the company has been inspected at least five times — and every time, inspectors found evidence of unsanitary conditions. The complaint specifically cites violations of seafood handling laws involving the tuna salad sandwiches.

In 2009, the FDA sent the company a Warning Letter for failing to fix problems or implement adequate quality-control measures, as is required by federal law. During two inspections in January and February 2014, the FDA documented violations.

The FDA warned that the sandwiches “have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health.”

The co-owner, Sandra J. Jackson, says the sandwiches are safe and the problem is a paperwork issue. She has hired an expert to help write and implement a plan. According to the Detroit Free Press, the company employs seven or eight sandwich-makers and has been in business for 50 years.

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