Mexican Chile Seized in Rat-Infested Warehouse
LAS CRUCES - Imported Mexican chile was seized by U.S. marshals on Monday after inspectors allegedly found it being stored in a warehouse infested with rodents and bugs, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in New Mexico.
An inspection in November by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration uncovered "an active and widespread insect and rodent infestation in the food warehouse," according to documents filed in federal court.
Inspectors allegedly found rodent nests and evidence that mice had gnawed, defecated and urinated on the chile products after they had been shipped to the Duran & Sons Chile Products warehouse, about eight miles north of Hatch.
Warehouse owner Carl Duran had already marked the chile for destruction and was cooperating with the FDA at the time of the raid, which he told the Associated Press was "a shock."
Apart from the chile, however, Duran's warehouse was also allegedly home to "a live cat, live birds, apparent bird nesting, bird droppings, rodent nesting, rodent excreta pellets, animal feces, animal urine, lice and dead insects and insect larvae and moth-like insects," according to court documents.
The New Mexico Environment Department barred the warehouse's contents from being taken to market following the disastrous inspection, according to the complaint, which seeks to destroy the products seized.
The complaint does not state the total amount of products seized.
General Manager - Staff Entomologist