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FDA Cilantro Ban: Intestinal Illness in US Connected to Mexican Farms

Image: FDA Cilantro Ban: Intestinal Illness in US Connected to Mexican Farms
A migrant farm worker from Mexico harvests organic cilantro while working at the Grant Family Farms on September 3, 2010 in Wellington, Colorado. (John Moore/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 10:43 AM

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned some imported fresh cilantro from Mexico following outbreaks of the intestinal illness Cyclosporiasis in the U.S.

CNN reported that 11 farms and packing houses in the state of Puebla had been inspected from 2012 to 2015 by U.S. and Mexican investigators and nearly half of them had been directly connected with the parasite. In some cases, investigators found human feces and toilet paper in and around growing fields that lacked restrooms with running water and soap.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. It can cause watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, cramping, bloating, increased gas, nausea and fatigue.

The FDA reported that the CDC has identified multiple Cyclosporiasis outbreaks this month. The Texas Department of State Health Services, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture identified cilantro from Puebla as the suspect cause.

"Based on epidemiological evidence … cilantro from the state of Puebla, Mexico was implicated as the vehicle for some of the U.S. cyclosporiasis infections in 2013 and 2014," wrote the FDA in its alert on Tuesday.

"In addition, after cyclosporiasis illnesses from the 2013 outbreak were linked to cilantro from Puebla, FDA reviewed a cluster of cyclosporiasis illnesses from 2012 in which the state of Texas had previously identified cilantro as one of multiple possible suspect vehicles and determined that cilantro from the state … was supplied to the point of service implicated in that outbreak."

The cilantro alert includes "fresh cilantro, whether it is intact or has been cut or chopped."

The agency reported that the cutting and chopping of cilantro actually increases the chance for contamination and cross-contamination onto other products.

"However, multi-ingredient processed foods that contain cilantro as an ingredient are not covered under this alert and neither is cilantro that has been processed in other ways besides being cut or chopped," wrote the FDA.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned some imported fresh cilantro from Mexico following outbreaks of the intestinal illness Cyclosporiasis in the U.S.
fda, cilantro, ban
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2015-43-29
Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 10:43 AM
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