Below is another press release from Ocean Beauty Seafoods with new details of this week’s federal raid of company plants in Washington state and California.
The release says the agents seemed to focus on “a single shipment of seafood imported in late 2007.”
A company spokesperson couldn’t tell me today what sort of seafood was involved, nor what country it came from.
Ocean Beauty, one of Alaska’s biggest salmon processors, deals in a wide variety of seafood processed both domestically and abroad.
Although the company is based in Seattle, Alaskans own a big share through Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., which bought a 50 percent stake in the processor in 2007.
BBEDC, based in Dillingham, is one of six Community Development Quota companies that harvest fish and make fisheries investments on behalf of Western Alaska villagers.
Here’s the press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 10, 2008
Ocean Beauty Importation Records Searched
SEATTLE, Wash. – Ocean Beauty Seafoods’ Washington plants in Seattle and Monroe, as well as its Los Angeles location, returned to normal operations Tuesday afternoon after federal officials closed them briefly earlier in the day. Agents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrived at the plants Tuesday morning seeking documentation records apparently relating to a single shipment of seafood imported in late 2007.
This matter is unrelated to the company’s Alaska operations or its fresh fish distribution locations, but appears to be narrowly focused on a single frozen shipment.
“Our operations were suspended at these locations for part of a day as a result of the investigation, but by the end of the day all operations were processing and shipping as normal,” said Mark Palmer, Ocean Beauty president and CEO. “Food safety is too important to us not to take this seriously, and we are doing so. We have done everything in our power to comply fully with the authorities, and will continue to do so.”
“Nothing is more important than the safety of the food supply,” he continued. “Our business relies utterly on our ability to produce safe product and to be a reliable and trustworthy manufacturer and business partner.”
Ocean Beauty Seafoods LLC has been in the Alaska seafood industry for nearly 100 years, and is one of Alaska’s largest seafood processors. Ocean Beauty operates seven shoreside plants across Alaska, as well as three value-added manufacturing plants in the Lower 48, nine fresh-fish distribution facilities in the western U.S., and sales offices in Seattle and Tokyo.