No illnesses from Rio Queen tomato recall

11/29/2012 04:53:00 PM
Andy Nelson

A week after a recall of Mexican-grown cherry tomatoes over salmonella fears, no illnesses had been reported.

On Nov. 21, Mission, Texas-based Rio Queen Citrus Inc. voluntarily recalled 840 cartons of cherry tomatoes after a random Food and Drug Administration test found salmonella. Rio Queen had shipped the affected product to retailers in Texas and South Carolina.

Also on Nov. 21, Norwalk, Iowa-based produce wholesaler Capital City Fruit Inc. recalled cherry tomatoes the company received from Rio Queen.

The Capital City recall covered one-pint clamshells of cherry tomatoes packed under the Capital brand and shipped to retailers in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18.

As of Nov. 28, there were no reports of illness, said FDA spokeswoman Sue Challis.

Rio Queen salesman Dante Galeazzi said Rio Queen is the only importer of cherry tomatoes from the Mexican grower that shipped the recalled product. The grower has been a Rio Queen partner for more than 25 years.

Rio Queen has stopped importing cherry tomatoes from the grower until the recall process is completed, Galeazzi said.

In addition to undergoing Primus certification, Rio Queen and the Mexican grower conduct biological testing on all tomato lots and micro-contaminate testing at the growing and packing stages, Galeazzi said.

In the future, those efforts will be strengthened, he said.

“Once done (with the recall), we will be working with FDA on a strenuous testing and hold policy for future shipments until such time as both our company and the FDA can be assured that we have addressed and eliminated the possibilities in our supply chain which allow for salmonella,” Galeazzi said.

Challis said the FDA could not comment on whether the Rio Queen recall was related to a recent recall of Mexican-grown cherry tomatoes sold in Canada, and a Canadian Food Inspection Agency spokesman did not know the identities of the U.S. shipper or Mexican grower responsible for the recalled Canadian product.

On Nov. 21, the CFIA warned consumers not to eat cherry tomatoes in clamshells carrying the Krown brand and party trays with cherry tomatoes at Safeway stores because of salmonella fears.

The Rio Queen recall comes almost exactly one year after a St. Louis-based distributor recalled grape tomato packs shipped by Rio Queen over fears of salmonella contamination.

On Nov. 30, 2011, Front Row Produce announced its recall of 10-ounce packs and 10-pound bulk containers of grape tomatoes supplied by Rio Queen. The recalled product was distributed to foodservice distributors and retailers in Missouri and Illinois.



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Ward Thomas    
McAllen TX  |  November, 30, 2012 at 01:43 PM

Before too long, the lab testing is going to get so good that nobody will be able to ship or sell any produce. These pathogens exist everywhere and always have. Being able to find them on everything hasn't.

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