UPDATED: Grower says FDA forcing recall weeks after the fact - The Packer

UPDATED: Grower says FDA forcing recall weeks after the fact

02/13/2014 09:31:00 AM
Coral Beach

(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.

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florida  |  February, 14, 2014 at 09:41 AM

FDA is the WORST at these things. There is ZERO excuse for not notifying the grower CONSIDERABLY sooner about a potential problem. A salmonella test only takes 3 to 5 days to get results. Either FDA got the results and waited 3 FULL WEEKS to notify the grower, or FDA waited 4 full weeks before sending in the samples for testing. Either way, FDA is incompetent. If the FDA waited 3 full weeks before sending in the samples, then anything could have happened during that time to contaminate the product. Also, a single positive sample doesn't realy mean anything. If you take enough tests, you will ALWAYS find at least one little contaminated piece of product. This stuff grows outside where birds fly around, and the only way to stop this is to perform complete genocide of BILLIONS or TRILLIONS of birds. Usually FDA will take 10 individual samples. If only one of these comes back positive, then that would be a pretty clear indication that the problem is isolated and does not effect the entire lot. But, the FDA's non-scientific reasoning still idiotically requires a recall of perfectly harmless product.

Brian Wickert    
Viroqua, WI  |  February, 14, 2014 at 04:19 PM

Bad science and feel good regulations collide here. Most of pathogen testing takes 8-9 days to get a "confirmed positive". According to our state laboratory the process/timeline for a test to confirm salmonella is as follows. From Start of a test to a Negative 72 hours(3 days) From the start of a Test to a Presumptive Positive 72 ours.(3 days) Once a presumptive positive test is received then by law another test has to be run to get to a "confirmed positive" . These tests involve growing pathogens so they can not be hurried. It takes time for things to grow. From the point in time of a presumptive positive salmonella test to a "confirmed positive" is another 120 to 148 hours(5-6 days). This means that the earliest a "confirmed positive" can be reached is 8-9 days!! This does not include the time it takes to collect the sample, send it to the laboratory. (1 day minimum often more) Then there is the time it takes to notify the company. Each laboratory has its own process of notification. The lab probably does 100s of tests each day so there is probably another day or more before the announcement. Many vegetables are picked delivered, sold and consumed before a "confirmed positive" can ever be reached. Now that the FDA has the authority to mandate recalls.....I imagine them abusing this authority because there is no requirement that they use good science or common sense. You can expect only more recalls as a charade tat the FDA is making sure our food is safe to eat. Pathogen Testing is often like closing the barn door after the the cow is out. Food safety is done on the farms not in the laboratory. My 2 cents Brian Wickert

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