UPDATED: FDA names Taylor Farms de Mexico in outbreak

08/03/2013 02:56:00 AM
Chris Koger

For additional details, please see: FDA intensifies cyclospora outbreak investigation

(UPDATED COVERAGE 8 p.m.) The Food and Drug Administration has named Taylor Farms' Mexican processing facility as the source of salad mix linked to cyclospora cases in Iowa in Nebraska.

The salads, served at Darden Restaurant-owned Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters and other restaurants, came from Taylor Farms de Mexico S de RL de CV. Of the 12 Taylor Farm processing plants, it is the only one in Mexico.

In announcing the salad processor/supplier of the lettuce, the FDA said it is "increasing its surveillance efforts on green leafy products exported to the U.S. from Mexico."

No salads sold at retail have been implicated in the outbreak. State health officials have said the mix contained iceberg and romaine lettuces and cabbage and carrots.

More than 400 people in 16 states have become sick with cyclopora in recent weeks, but the FDA is not connecting the Taylor Farms de Mexico product with illnesses in the other 14 states.

"It is not yet clear whether the cases reported from other states are all part of the same outbreak. The investigation of increased cases of cyclosporiasis in other states continues," according to the FDA news release announcing the update on the investigation.

The FDA and Taylor Farms de Mexico plan to conduct tests on the Mexican facility to pinpoint the source of the cyclospora and also put processes in place to avoid a recurrence, according to the release. The last time the facility was inspected was in 2011; no "notable" issues were detected then, according to the FDA news release.

The FDA named Taylor Farms de Mexico as the supplier of the salad on Aug. 2, one week after the agency released rules relating to imports as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

The company has been cooperating with the FDA, according to the FDA release.

The company, which uses a proprietary wash system called SmartWash in its processing facilities, tests all water sources, fields and each lot of product shipped, according to a statement on Taylor Farms' website  posted Aug. 3.

"We are redoubling and enhancing our testsing and scrutiny in these areas to further assure food safety," according to the statement.

The Mexico operation has an "exceptional" food safety record, from fields to finished product, according to the company.

Taylor Farms and state health officials said the product linked to the outbreak is no longer in the supply chain, and salad mix currently available is safe to eat.

Mexican authorities, including the National Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality Service (SENASICA) are working with the FDA on the investigation, according to the release.



Comments (9) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

roberta    
california  |  August, 04, 2013 at 09:27 AM

Focus needs to be done at field level.....more than likely contamination occured there versus packing facility....and Taylor Farms touting all lots are tested for pathogens pre harvest isn't exactly addressing this outbreak.....most produce comany's that do pathogen testing do NOT test for cyclespora...normally they test for EHEC, salmonella, and 0157-H7.......so if Taylor wants to broad brush that all tests have come back negative, would sure like them to state if their normal testing included testing for cyclespora

John    
Florida  |  August, 04, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Is this a surprise to anyone, that a 3rd world country lacking proper sewage systems and healthcare has once again sent us contaminated produce? This is 100% preventable, as long as you greedy corporations source your food from civilized places.

SpankyandLulu    
East Cobb, GA  |  August, 05, 2013 at 05:44 AM

It sounds like something went up John's ay n us and has died. I hope he can get it out. If John were somewhat learned, he would know two things: Mexico is not a third world country and this type of outbreak can happen anywhere in the world.

John    
Florida  |  August, 05, 2013 at 07:28 AM

Spanky, the childishness of your comment certainly is not going to help your argument that mexico is not a 3rd world country. I work with numerous mexican immigrants who were born and raised in mexico, and they would not hesitate to collaborate my previous comment. Mexico lacks proper civilized sewage and fresh water systems. Why do you think they tell us to not drink the water in mexico? Well, they are "washing" their produce with that very same water! SHAME on any American company that sources their produce from mexico when there are in-season alternatives available domestically! Darden is very strict about requiring 3rd party audits and water tests, but in a country like mexico, broken is broken. It doesn't matter if a packing house gets a good score on one audit that one day the auditor is there, because it's back to business as usual the very next day.

Marce    
Mexco  |  August, 05, 2013 at 09:57 AM

John, your mediocrity surprises me, we do not wash things in such water, how sad is that beyond ignorant people who think that Mexico still moves in donkey, I'm Mexican and is not the way to talk about something you do not know, in first. Second, know that Taylor Farms of Mexico is the best there worldwide? This outbreak was due to other things that are already coming to light.

Jen    
California  |  August, 05, 2013 at 04:43 PM

I appreciate Marce's comments to John. The reason companies expand into Mexico is labor. Here's a good example: http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-enewsletter/Issue_Announcement/Labor-other-crops-jeopardize-supplies-218099521.html I can hear the augment coming that greedy produce companies should pay more and they will get domestic workers. Well, first we will need companies like Darden to start paying more as well. We cannot grow and harvest food if we cannot cover those costs. And as far as better wages attracting domestic workers...not sure that those workers want these jobs. I hope Taylor and the FDA share what they find so that we can all learn from this.

Daniel Torres    
Gonzales Ca.  |  August, 05, 2013 at 05:43 PM

Here we go down memory lane AGAIN and the common denominator is Mexico whether cukes-jalapenoes-cantaloupe enough is enough and it is not "exceptional" No more Mexican produce for me I would like to be a fly on the wall at the next Darden Board Meeting Why was this product taken as a random FDA sample coming across the border? Sequestration? or Castration?

anonymous    
August, 07, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Call a spade a spade. Who wants to buy anything anymore from Mexico?? Not me...

John    
Florida  |  August, 09, 2013 at 07:55 AM

To be fair, anonymous, even I buy certain things from mexico. If I am going to thoroughly cook it and I can't find a domestic alternative, then I will give in and buy mexican. BUT, if I'm going to eat it raw, then I will wait until it's in season from the States. Especially with something like lettuce or berries. You couldn't pay me to eat a raw mexican berry.

Join the conversation - sign up for FREE today!
FeedWind
Feedback Form
Leads to Insight