King of Pops, an Atlanta-based popsicle maker that prides itself on local sourcing and sustainable practices, has suspended production at it's North Charleston facility after the FDA found rat poop and other unsanitary conditions at the plant.
In a warning letter dated August 3, 2017, the FDA outlined 'serious violations' observed by investigators during an inspection conducted June 12-14, 2017 at the North Charleston facility, which serves the Charleston, Midlands and Savannah areas.
Among the violations cited were:
- Approximately 55 rodent excreta pellets (REPs) in the rear right corner of the production facility underneath food storage rack (b)(4).
- Approximately 45 REPs located inside of a raw ingredient storage box that contained (b)(4) and other ingredients on the middle rack of storage rack (b)(4).
In a post to it's Facebook page Friday, King of Pops says they "have made corrective actions and are working closely with the FDA to ensure that nothing further is needed." In the meantime, the company says it is has suspended production at the facility until they "officially hear from the FDA that our response to the FDA recommendations is satisfactory.'
King of Pops goes on to say, "Importantly, we do want to emphasize that all of our other facilities are in good standing with the FDA." The company says it has four other production facilities, including one in Greenville, SC. The others are located in Atlanta, Charlotte and Richmond.
News 19 reached out to King of Pops, who provided their full response letter to the FDA.
When asked how suspending production at the North Charleston facility might affect product availability here in the Midlands, a spokesman for the company said they will be supplementing stock in the Midlands with pops from their facility in Atlanta until they get closure with the FDA for the Charleston plant.
King of Pops made the following statement to News 19 on Friday.
King of Pops would like to deeply apologize to all of our consumers for the discomfort and worry this article has caused.
We have responded and taken action to all of the FDA’s requests. We have been working closely with the FDA for the past couple months to make the proper corrections to improve our Charleston production environment and make the necessary corrections to every issue listed. While we are extremely concerned with this warning, we have not found any adulterated products. All of our finished products have undergone testing and have come back accepted by the South Carolina Department of Health standards.
We are working every day to improve our Charleston work environment and make additional efforts to better our daily procedures. As a company we know the importance of cleanliness and a healthy work environment for all of our employees and above all for you, our local community.
Again, we are deeply sorry and embarrassed by this incident and will continue to do whatever we can to get back into the good graces of the Charleston community that we live and work in.
King of Pops founder Steven Carse says he encourages anyone who is interested to visit any of their facilities at any time. "We will work hard for as long as we have the opportunity to earn your trust and support back," says Carse in the Facebook post, which he also includes his email address and mobile number for concerned customers.
According to their website, most of their pops, which have been made in almost 500 flavors over the years, have between three and five ingredients. In addition to their pops, King of Pops makes a line of "Poptails" and "King of Pups" frozen dog treats.
Here's where you can find King of Pops products in the Midlands.
Earth Fare – Columbia
NY Butcher Shoppe – Columbia
Whole Foods – Columbia
Piggly Wiggly – Columbia
River Rat Brewery – Columbia
Random Tap – Elgin
14 Carrot Whole Foods – Lexington
Fusco Market – Irmo
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