Customers can wave goodbye to KoJel kosher foods products like instant noodle soup and pudding — at least for a little while.
V.I.P. Foods, the Queens food supplier that manufactures the products, has had roughly $1 million worth of inventory seized due to rodent infestation, The New York Times reported.
The federal Food and Drug Administration seized the products from the company’s warehouse in Ridgewood, Queens, on March 19.
Inspectors had visited the site several times between October and February. The Times reported that a complaint filed in federal court last month stated that on October 25, inspectors arrived to find “over 1,200 rodent excreta pellets, at least four live and dead mice, and rodent-gnawed containers of food.” Rodent urine stains were also found around the food.
“V.I.P.’s warehouse was a picnic ground for rodents, and the company failed utterly in its obligation to provide food deemed safe for human consumption,” Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.
The inspectors also found evidence the rodent population in the 50,000-square-foot warehouse was ready to explode, as nests were found hidden in pallets of food, the New York Post reported.
V.I.P. Foods sells Kojel products to various supermarkets in up and down the East Coast, and as far West as Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota, the New York Post reported, adding that the company also says it sells products to restaurants, retirement homes, and caterers.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors say they will take further legal action against V.I.P. to force it to comply with health regulations.
Anne Cohen is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.