For earlier coverage of the recall, click here.
There’s a chance none of the grape tomatoes recalled in late November over salmonella fears were ever consumed, said the Texas grower-shipper that shipped them to distributors in St. Louis and Dallas.
“We stayed pretty well in front of this,” Mike Martin, president of Rio Queen Citrus Inc., Mission, Texas, said Dec. 2. “We know where (the recalled product) is, and we think we have it all back under control.”
Rio Queen shipped 243 20-pound boxes of grape tomatoes to St. Louis-based Front Row Produce and Dallas-based Combs Produce Co. that came from a lot that tested positive for salmonella.
Rio Queen received a preliminary positive test result Nov. 25 and notified Front Row and Combs that day, Martin said. A confirmation of the positive result followed on Nov. 29.
Front Row voluntarily recalled 10-ounce packs and 10-pound bulk containers of grape tomatoes supplied by Rio Queen. The product was distributed to foodservice distributors and retailers in Missouri and Illinois.
On Dec. 2, Rio Queen was scheduled to pick up affected product from Combs.
As of Dec. 2, no illnesses related to the contamination had been reported, Martin said.
The contaminated product was harvested and packed in Mexico, Martin said.
“I’m 99.9% sure (the contamination) didn’t happen in our cooler,” he said. “It comes in packed and palletized, and it’s forklifted in and forklifted out.”
Pending an investigation of fields and facilities in Mexico, Rio Queen has suspended shipments of Mexican grape and cherry tomatoes. When it does begin shipping again, the company will, for the foreseeable future, test all lots before clearing them for delivery, Martin said.