The Canadian Food Inspection Agency first issued a warning Aug. 24 advising the public not to consume Daniella-brand mangoes because of potential salmonella contamination.
That warning was accompanied by a voluntary recall by importer North American Produce Sales, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Garfield Balsom, an Ottawa-based official with the Canadian agency, said Sept. 5 that the recall in Canada was based on an epidemiological investigation, not direct evidence of the pathogen on the mangoes.
On Aug. 29, Splendid Products, Burlingame, Calif., recalled Daniella mangoes sold from July 12 to Aug. 29. In total, Splendid Products, various U.S. retailers and produce marketers issued more than a dozen recalls through Sept. 6.
Seattle attorney Bill Marler filed a lawsuit Sept. 5 against Splendid Products on behalf of an elderly woman in Stanwood, Wash., sickened by the salmonella strain.
Larry Nienkerk, general manager and partner at Splendid Products, said Sept. 6 the company had not been formally notified of the lawsuit and he had no comment.
Nienkerk said he has no knowledge of any physical evidence that Daniella-brand mangoes carried Salmonella Braenderup.
“We have conducted scores of tests on all lots of mangoes that we have in Nogales and in Texas, and we have various tests on other lots in customers’ warehouse, independent third party tests and the FDA has taken tests on these same lots and additional lots,” he said.
To his knowledge, Nienkerk said no test has shown a mango to have a salmonella pathogen on it.
“It is a real puzzle,” he said.
The Daniella mangoes were from a certified fly-free area in Sinaloa and did not undergo a hot water treatment for potential fruit fly infestation. Even so, Nienkerk said there is a wash process protocol for mangoes not treated with hot water that would have allayed food safety concerns.
“I hope the public understands that this is a wonderful product and that there are safeguards in place,” he said.
Nienkerk said Splendid Products recalled the mangoes at the first sign of problems, on a “suspicion we might have something to do with this,” he said. “We took a very drastic step quickly the moment we heard about any problem until we could get more information.”
The food safety record of Agricola Daniella, the Mexican supplier of the mangoes, was not immediately known.
Ryan Fothergill, in-house counsel for PrimusLabs, Santa Maria, Calif., said Primuslabs conducted an audit at Agricola Daniella’s facility in Mexico “relatively recently.” Fothergill did not describe the results of the audit of the Los Mochis, Mexico-based mango exporter — the results of a food safety audit cannot be released without written consent of the firm — but he said the company is not a platinum client and did not have permission to use the logo on its cartons or fruit.