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SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking action against a group of retailers for repeatedly violating restrictions on the sale and distribution of tobacco products, including sales to minors.
The complaints are the first-ever No-Tobacco-Sale Order (NTSO) actions against retailers, the agency announced. Under the law, the FDA may pursue an NTSO against retailers that have a total of five or more repeated violations of those restrictions during compliance inspections within 36 months.
"Retailers are the first line of defense in preventing the illegal sale of harmful and addictive products like cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to youth," said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. "These enforcement actions will send a powerful message to all retailers that there are real consequences for repeatedly violating the law."
The FDA's actions seek to prohibit the sale of regulated tobacco products at eight retail establishments for 30 days. The eight retailers are:
- Thais Mini Market LLC dba I and S Grocery Inc. in Newark, N.J.;
- C and C Supermarket LLC in Irvington, N.J.;
- Yemco Fuel Inc. and Nakeeb Hassan dba Marathon in Detroit;
- Kat Party Store Inc. dba Mr. Grocer Liquor Store in Detroit;
- Family Food Market Inc. in Detroit;
- Horizon Enterprises Inc. dba 95th Mobil and Food Mart in Chicago;
- Mon-Jan Corp. dba Monaghan's Pub in Baltimore; and
- MFA Petroleum Co. dba Break Time 3028 in Columbia, Mo.
After the FDA initiates an NTSO action by filing a complaint, a retailer can respond to the complaint, but must generally do so within 30 days. If an NTSO goes into effect, a retailer is responsible for ensuring that the establishment does not sell regulated tobacco products during the specified period.
According to the agency, removing or covering tobacco products are examples of steps a retailer may choose to take to ensure compliance with an NTSO, but these specific actions are not required. It is up to the retailer to decide what measures to take to ensure no regulated tobacco products are sold at the store during the period of time specified in the order.
The FDA plans to conduct unannounced compliance check inspections during that period to check whether the establishment is complying with the terms of the order.