The owner of a New York-based fast-casual chain that has expanded its menu from burgers to fried chicken is asking a judge to order the company to pay a $50,000 fine for violating city licensing laws.
In July, the Food and Drug Administration fined Grice $2.8 million for violating a state law mandating that food products from more than 50 states must be produced in New York.
In a motion filed Wednesday, attorneys for the chain, known as Grice Foods, said they plan to appeal the fine.
The company also wants the judge to approve an injunction to keep it from selling any food products made from raw materials, as long as they are processed by licensed workers.
The court’s decision to approve the injunction is expected within weeks.
The FDA issued the fine for five violations, including failing to properly register with the agency, failing to label raw ingredients as “composed of,” and failing to comply with an order requiring that food items be labeled with the “presence of meat.”
The company has also been fined by the state’s attorney general for failing to obtain a license from the city, for failing in its certification process for food and beverage manufacturing, and for failing the city’s food safety inspection program.
The city has been investigating whether the company was operating without a license for more than a year.
Grice was founded by Peter Vlachos, a former chef at New York’s renowned Bowery Oyster Bar, and his wife, Laura.
The family has since expanded to about 200 restaurants around the country, according to a statement from the company.
They’re also selling a line of organic frozen foods and other items.
In addition to the fines for violations of state food safety laws, the company has been ordered to provide an inspection report, to stop using plastic wrap, to remove raw materials from its supply chain, and to notify the city of any violations it has committed in the past.
It is also ordered to pay the $2,000 penalty.
“Grice Foods is a food processing company, and its sole focus is to provide a wholesome and sustainable dining experience to our customers,” the company said in a statement.
“As a licensed food processor, Grice must comply with all applicable New York State food safety regulations.
However, we do not intend to be involved in the marketing, marketing, distribution, or sale of Grice Food Products products in New Yorkers.”
A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction last week, allowing the company a chance to appeal.
The Food and Consumer Protection Bureau said it had begun an investigation of Grices food processing operations in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
The agency has also asked the state attorney general to look into the food company’s certification process.