Portland Shellfish, Inc. Given FDA Approval to Resume Operations

Portland Shellfish, Inc., a leader in providing top-quality, fresh, frozen and pasteurized Maine lobster, crab and shrimp products has recently been granted permission to resume processing by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

The company's Owner Jeff Holden reported the resumption of processing at one facility last week and the other to resume this week, according to Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Philip Congdon.

Holden came to DECD when despite complying with FDA regulations and making significant upgrades and improvements over the past two years, the company was ordered to stop processing and shipping seafood on January 11, 2011, eight months after FDA inspections. The order from FDA resulted in displacement of 110 employees.

Commissioner Congdon, along with Governor LePage's office, and the offices of Senator Snowe, Senator Collins and Rep. Pingree worked together to reach the federal agency and beyond to assure the appropriate action was taken to allow Portland Shellfish to resume operations. Governor LePage also spoke with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services.

"Government has to be a partner with the private sector when it comes to protecting and creating jobs," said Maine Governor Paul LePage. "In my administration, state government is going to lead the way in finding solutions that protect the public and keep people working."

"I am extremely pleased that we were able to cut through the bureaucracy at the federal level and get this situation resolved in the best interest of all involved," said Commissioner Congdon.

Portland Shellfish processes 13 to 14 million pounds of seafood annually and is important to Portland's waterfront and Maine's seafood industry.

"I have been impressed with the diligence and level of compliance and cooperation exhibited by Jeff Holden and his team at Portland Shellfish," added Commissioner Congdon.