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Production at Wardynski’s Meats remains shut down

Frank Wardynski & Sons has temporarily halted production of sausage and meats at its plant on Buffalo’s East Side while the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service investigates a rodent issue in a nonfood production area.

The company immediately stopped food production and continued an extensive three-day cleaning and sanitizing operation at the Peckham Street facility.

“We have a certain protocol we have to follow, as well as the USDA,” owner Raymond “Skip” Wardynski said Saturday. “It’s a process we do, step by step.”

The USDA on Wednesday notified the company – whose products include Polish sausage, hot dogs and the Shelly bologna brand – that a routine walk-through of the company plant identified possible rodent activity in nonfood production areas of the plant. The company immediately stopped all operations to conduct a more thorough investigation.

Wardynski said the plant, which also handles distribution, is still operating, but food-processing and production have stopped temporarily.

The firm’s products are sold in local grocery stores.

“Since its founding in 1919, Wardynski’s Meats has always adhered to best practices regarding food safety,” Wardynski said in a prepared statement. “This is the first time anything like this has happened to our company throughout our nearly 100-year history. I want to personally assure our customers, our employees and the entire community that we have already put additional precautions in place to help prevent future problems, such as this, from taking place.”

On Wednesday afternoon, a USDA analysis officer performed a visual inspection that supported the original findings, Wardynski said in his statement. As a result, company officials also conducted a thorough inch-by-inch visual and physical inspection of the building using ultraviolet-light technology.

That inspection, which lasted into Wednesday evening, was conducted by Wardynski himself and company personnel.

On Thursday morning, Wardynski brought in a pest-control expert and it was determined through more sophisticated technology that there had been “some recent, very isolated rodent activity” in an unused crawl space. One small rodent was found – caught in a trap in the crawl space, the company said.

“On Wednesday, we stopped in our tracks,” Wardynski said. “We don’t make any assumptions.”

The plant requires USDA approval to reopen. Wardynski also noted that a secondary investigation is being completed.

“All we can do is hope that with the positive steps we are taking, that this can be a timely process in the course of getting back into production,” Wardynski said.

Redlinski Meats – another East Side sausage maker – suspended operations last month because of a rodent issue and reopened Wednesday. No Redlinski food was contaminated, but Joe Redlinski, president of the company, said he voluntarily shut down the plant for two weeks to do extensive renovations to prevent future problems.

email: krobinbson@buffnews.com