(UPDATED COVERAGE 5:12 p.m.) A Florida grower says the Food and Drug Administration is mandating a recall of curly parsley five weeks after it was harvested — and long after its shelf life had expired — after a positive test for salmonella.
However, FDA spokeswoman Theresa Eisenman said the recall is voluntary.
Rick Roth, owner of Roth Farms Inc., Belle Glade, Fla., said he is cooperating with the agency, but the recall was not voluntary. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the Roth Farms parsley.
“We were told it was required,” Roth said Feb. 13. He said officials collected a random sample at the packing house level.
Roth Farms harvested the parsley Jan. 7. The FDA e-mailed the recall notice to alert subscribers on Feb. 13.
The company’s agent said FDA notified Roth Farms of the positive test result on Feb. 11. It wasn’t immediately known what date the FDA recorded the positive test.
The FDA notice covers lot number AG01GN, which was shipped in three-wire wooden crates. Roth’s sales agent Gary Norman, owner of Gary Norman Produce, Wellington, Fla., said 500 cartons with 60 bunches of parsley are included in the recall.
“This is not voluntary,” Norman said Feb. 13. “We called everybody we shipped to and they all told us (the parsley) is long gone. The FDA said we had to do this recall.”
Norman said the curly parsley has a shelf life of about two weeks. According to the FDA recall notice, production of the product has been suspended while the agency and company investigate the possible source of the salmonella.
FDA’s Eisenman said snowstorms closed agency offices in the Washington D.C. area Feb. 13, but she were seeking additional official comments on the recall.