Gold Bar food firm’s license suspended

A Gold Bar canning company that cans and jars products from small farms has had its food-processing license suspended after ongoing sanitation problems, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

G. Wolf Enterprises, also known as Wolf Pack Cannery at 14811 Moonlight Drive, also has violations of food-processing standards, and the management failed to cooperate with the state inspectors, according to the state agency. The company was ordered to cease all food processing operations as of Sept. 13.

In previous visits, food safety inspectors have noted violations of food processing laws and standards that included wooden storage trays that could not be properly sanitized, a lack of clear separation between processing rooms and a machine shop and mildew in a walk-in cooler.

Inspectors also found jar lids stored in open containers leaving them easily contaminated and deviations from proper canning processes that could lead to illness.

Last week, food safety officers began a routine inspection of the facility, but were unable to complete their inspection because of interference by company management, a violation of state regulations.

“At the time of the inspection, inspectors felt the threat of intimidation in their minds where they felt it was safer just to leave to the plant,” said Mike Louisell, an agriculture department spokesman. “With the passage of time, things can calm down quite a bit and we hope that’s the case.”

The agriculture department may re-instate the company’s license if the company allows the inspectors access and complies with all food processing requirements.

Representatives of Wolf Pack did not return phone calls.

The family-owned business has several dozen customers including small businesses and farms. The agriculture department would like to reach those customers who have used Wolf Pack Cannery to process their products.

Those people should contact the agriculture department’s Food Safety and Consumer Services Division at OCO@agr.wa.gov or 360-902-1942.

Food processing is a major industry in Washington with total sales reaching $15 billion in 2011, Louisell said. In Snohomish County, the industry accounted for more than $338 million in business that year, supplying more than 1,500 jobs.

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