FDA issues import alert for certain Mexican cukes - The Packer

FDA issues import alert for certain Mexican cukes

04/25/2013 04:47:00 PM
Coral Beach

Tricar Sales Inc., Rio Rico, Ariz.(UPDATED COVERAGE, April 26) In the wake of an 18-state salmonella outbreak, U.S. officials issued an import alert on cucumbers from Mexican growers whose produce is distributed by Tricar Sales Inc., Rio Rico, Ariz.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an outbreak report April 25 referencing the import alert issues the day before by the Food and Drug Administration.

The CDC reported 73 people were confirmed with Salmonella Saintpaul with illness onsets reported from Jan. 12 through April 6. No deaths have been reported, but 14 people have had to be admitted to hospitals because of the salmonella infections.

Tricar Sales director of marketing and sales, Rod Sbragia, said the Food and Drug Administration has been in communication with the company since April 5. He said the FDA told company officials they did not have to recall produce because it is unlikely that any of the cucumbers remain in the stream of commerce, based on the illness onset dates.

The import alert applies only to imported cucumbers supplied by Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico, and distributed by Tricar Sales Inc.

Cucumbers from the two firms may be denied admission into the U.S. until further notice unless the importer provides evidence that they are not contaminated with Salmonella, such as results from private laboratory tests of the cucumbers.

Sbragia said Tricar has been doing business with Izabal since 1949. He said Izabal is the principal grower for Tricar Sales. Sbragia said Tricar officials are not sure of the volume of cucumbers distributed in the U.S. during the time the illnesses were reported.

“At this time they have not linked anything for sure,” Sbragia said April 25. “We are cooperating fully with the FDA and have provided documentation and records they requested.

“We are looking for potential causes but have not found anything. the Mexican authorities are working with the growers to investigate possible sources of potential contamination.”

The FDA and CDC have been trying to pinpoint the source of the salmonella for weeks, said Doug Karas, public affairs specialist with FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention“Only recently could we identify the product and the suppliers — this was done with a combination of epidemiological interviews and through using shipping records to trace the cucumbers back to the suppliers,” Karas said.

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Nogales Az.  |  April, 25, 2013 at 09:45 PM

Here we go down memory lane AGAIN with prompt reporting from CDC and TRICAR No internal or 3rd party audits for the last 3 months? this once again is pathetic!

Ben Dover    
April, 26, 2013 at 06:56 AM

Of course many audits have been performed Baltazar. maybe it was "its ok--everything is ok mentality"

Irapuato, Mexico  |  April, 26, 2013 at 01:39 AM

USDA has no role in this issue, as it is FDA and CDC job....

Jack Benny    
April, 26, 2013 at 09:30 AM

So you sit down to a meal and eat maybe 3,4,5 slices of cucumber? How would you even know what made you sick a day or two down the road? Most Americans shovel so much crap down their gullets, how would they even know which processed fast food caused the illness? And by the time our quick working government get around to pulling the "chicken little" game on the fools, the bad produce (if it even was produce) is long out of the distribution system. Good thing we can all rely on ObamaCare to fix what ails us.

Coral Beach    
The Packer  |  April, 26, 2013 at 09:53 AM

Thank you, Luis, for the reminder. You are absolutely correct. FDA issued the import alert. The headline and story have been corrected.

Mexico  |  April, 26, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Always is so easy to speak without any idea. Audits are for have controls on critical issues, and of course Tricar has his own certifications, also the growers, they are working on solving an issue not to make it bigger. Please speak with reason not with stupid words if you know how its done down here in Mexico.

Pepino Montez    
April, 26, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Apparently this issue has been ongoing for months and just coming to light Have these growers had sufficient time to work on solving the problems? So why have the growers not been able to identify the problem?

Nogales AZ  |  April, 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM

here we go again, some group trying to ruin a whole industry. i think they should do a better work on their investigation before releasing Companies Names. Reputation is Crucial.

Texas  |  April, 26, 2013 at 02:13 PM

There are plenty of good Mexican cukes everywhere else please don't ruin the whole cuke industry or market because of tricar . They are not the best label out there. it works great for hog feed.

Glasshouse Gill    
California  |  April, 29, 2013 at 01:12 PM

thats why the USA customers should buy USA grown glasshouse cucumbers from reputatble growers like Windset, Houwelings, or Village Farms

Mexico  |  April, 29, 2013 at 11:12 PM

Glasshouses? Aren't glasshouses meant to grow where weather is so cold that you need to make an artificial atmosphere where plants don't grow under natural circumstances at prohibitive prices due to carbon footprint and hydroponics is well suited for areas where soil lacks proper nutrients? thus having to bring palm or volcanic substrate from thousands of miles away, to an environment that is alien to the whole agricultural culture. I don't understand what your comment has anything to do with anything related to food safety. When an 'Import Alert' or a 'Re-call' are in place, and in which this specific is an 'Import Alert', you learn many things about how CDC & FDA conduct their investigations, they are based on 'probabilities' and interviews many days after the original consumption has partaken place; Once is out on the media, the whole commodity will suffer due to ignorance from the end consumer, as they lack awareness of how food illnesses originate, it could be the grower, a secondary or other food handler through the ladder, and even the end consumer by not practicing common sense habits such as properly washing edibles and or their hands; Unfortunately this will not be the last of the food safety issues that we come across,regardless of country of origin, and will be an interesting outcome to find out the final results. Media should confirm what was originally been suspected and if a different finding is out, re-direct their investigative reports and publish with same tenure as from the get go. Fla, Ga. and Ca. tomato growers are witnesses as to how the last 'cry wolf' impacted their market when irresponsible media ran stories on contaminated tomatoes, and Jalapenos were the 'probable' culprits;

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