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Food safety

M&M candy factory forced to close due to infestation of mice, cockroaches

Friday, June 30, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: food safety, candy, health news


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(NewsTarget) The Chicago Public Health Department was forced to close an M&M Mars Inc. candy factory after orders to correct health violations were ignored following a June 21 inspection of the facility.

Dr. Terry Mason, city health commissioner, said "Every licensed food establishment operator in this city, from the smallest mom-and-pop to the largest food processing facility, needs to understand that when we issue an order to correct a health violation, we mean business. This candy facility will remain closed until these health violations have been corrected."

The initial inspection of the Oak Park Avenue plant came after a non-emergency 311 call was placed reporting cockroaches. Inspectors at the plant found a fruit fly infestation, mouse droppings in the food-processing area, gaps that allowed pests access to the production area, and food items stored on the floor, which is also a violation.

"Most times, everybody does what they are supposed to and it is done fairly quickly." Frances Guichard, director of the city health department's food protection program said. "(M&M Mars) didn't and that's why we ordered them closed."

The company's closure comes with a possible fine of $1,500, to be determined during a hearing set for July 27.

On Thursday, spokesperson Alice Nathanson of New Jersey-based Masterfoods USA, a division of Mars Inc., said, "Masterfoods ... is working with the city to immediately resolve questions following a routine inspection." Masterson added that the plant expected to "resume normal production within 24 hours."

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