By Bay City News Service
A Fremont-based herb, tea and spice company has been shut down because of a mouse infestation discovered by the California Department of Public Health, the company announced Wednesday.
The San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company closed its Fremont warehouse at 47444 Kato Road on July 11 after the infestation was discovered, a company spokesman said.
The company said it is working with state health officials and other regulatory authorities to "isolate and remedy the problem" in their 150,000-square-foot facility.
The company today issued a voluntary recall notice for 16 products that may have been affected by mice in the warehouse space, spokesman Sam Singer said.
Those items include chicory root roasted granules, whole fennel seeds, green tea and paprika sweet powder.
The 40-year-old company said in a statement that it believed it had a small mouse problem under control, but that the problem "unexpectedly grew into a larger issue."
"We apologize to our loyal customers and fans and will fully refund any products that have been impacted," company officials said.
The infestation led to an operations shutdown after inspectors found mice at the facility on May 2, state Department of Public Health spokeswoman Anita Gore said. Follow-up visits showed the mouse problem had grown.
"We saw it had gotten much worse," Gore said.
Gore said department personnel are in the facility daily watching the cleanup. The company won't be able to reopen its doors until the rodents are taken care of and the product is separated and deemed uncontaminated.
She said at a large facility like this with a lot of product, it is "uncommon to find a mouse problem this pervasive."
No illnesses have been reported in connection with the potential contamination.