Image courtesy of the FDA.
In 2014, Oprah Winfrey named a $195 box of eight different flavors of smoked salmon from The Smokehouse of New York as part of her “Favorite Things” list. I’m not so sure it would still be on her list as of today, however, because federal authorities want The Smokehouse to shut down operations.
Why? Because the company recently incurred its second major recall in the past decade due to Listeria monocytogenes, a nasty food-borne pathogen notorious for causing stillbirths and miscarriages in pregnant women. The Smokehouse, which just recalled 10 smoked fish products in April for potential bacterial contamination, also had to recall 11 products in 2011 for the exact same thing.
Inspections in both cases found Listeria on both contact and non-contact surfaces where the fish is processed, but no illnesses or in-product contamination have yet to be reported, according to the New York Daily News. Each FDA inspection between 2011 and 2015 also found Listeria in the production facility, and a warning letter was issued for the first offense in 2011.
As a result of these recalls, the Southern District of New York’s US Attorney’s office is suing The Smokehouse and demanding that a federal judge order operations at the business to cease until the Listeria problem is completely resolved and it can be proven that their facility and products are safe.
Brett Portier, The Smokehouse’s operations director, did tell the New York Daily News that they are “working with the FDA” regarding the issue. Until it’s all cleared up, however, it looks like Oprah’s gonna have to get her smoked fish fix somewhere else.
UPDATE 6/30/2017: A federal judge has ordered The Smokehouse of New York to cease operations and stop selling its products until it can comply with food safety regulations. Looks like Oprah’s favorite smoked fish won’t be in stores for the time being.