The federal Food and Drug Administration has closed down a Kenton food plant following an inspection showing numerous unsanitary conditions.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has closed down a local food manufacturer after an investigation revealed numerous unsanitary conditions at its Kenton plant.

The FDA suspended the food facility registration for Roos Foods on March 11 after an investigation by the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local partners linked a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis to cheeses contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and manufactured by the company.

Seven people in Maryland were taken ill after eating cheeses made at Roos, and one person in California reportedly died of Listeria poisoning. Roos initiated a voluntary recall of the cheeses on Feb. 23, followed five days later by a recall of its sour cream products.

According to the FDA, a valid registration is required for any facility engaged in manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding food for consumption in the United States. If the registration is suspended, food manufactured in that facility cannot be sold in the United States.

The FDA inspected the company’s facility over a two-week period, from Feb. 18 to March 4. Investigators found a number of unsanitary conditions, including:

n Roof leaks that allowed water to rain down into the cheese processing room, including onto the cheese processing equipment and storage tanks;

n Standing water on the floor throughout the cheese curd processing room near the cheese vats and in the storage rooms;

n Rusty metal roof/ceiling and metal supports, with metal flaking that prevented effective cleaning and sanitizing;

n Food residue found on equipment after cleaning had been performed;

n Openings to milk storage tanks and transfer piping were not capped to prevent contaminants from entering or contaminating food contact surfaces; and

n Floors, walls, and equipment that were deteriorated and in bad repair, including processing equipment and storage vats with rust holes and floors with rough concrete deterioration.

The FDA can vacate the suspension order and reinstate Roos Foods’ facility registration when inspectors determine that food manufactured, processed, packed, or held at the facility no longer has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans.