The United States Department of Agriculture is recalling nearly 2,000 pounds of prepared food distributed by a North Miami Beach company that failed to secure inspections and approval to sell items ranging from ham-filled cachitos to chicken empanadas.
All told, the recall covers 1,951 pounds of products packed by Panna Café Express to Go Inc. between June 2 and August 17, the USDA said in a news release earlier this week. There have been no reports of anyone being sickened.
"Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them," the agency said. "These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
Panna Café's roots trace back to 2000, when its owner, Mauricio Meneses, a Venezuelan immigrant, and his sister Beatriz Morrison bought a Broward County gas station with an attached bakery, according to a 2008 Sun Sentinel article. The spot became a favorite among the area's sizable Venezuelan population and soon he was selling hundreds of the puffy ham croissants a day.
The distribution operation formalized in 2008, according to state corporation records. Today the company seems to operate as a manufacturer disbursing tequeños, cachitos, and other food items. No one from Panna could immediately be reached for comment; however, the homepage of the company's website boasts stamps asserting that it has passed USDA inspections.
"We impose the very highest standards for quality, sanitation, and safety at every step from purchase, to processing, to shipping and finally to preparation in our restaurants," the website says.
This year has been marred by more serious recalls that affected Florida, along with the rest of the country. In April, Washington-based CRF Frozen Foods voluntarily recalled more than a dozen varieties of vegetable packets possibly contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria was believed to sicken eight patients, two of whom died.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.