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Food News


THIS SECTION IS FOR NEWS AND INTERESTING STORIES RELATED TO FOOD, NUTRITION AND FOOD PROCESSING. THEY ARE NOT NECESSARILY RELATED TO KOSHER BUT MAY BE OF INTEREST TO THE KOSHER CONSUMER, MANUFACTURER OR MASHGIACH.

FDA Import Alert - Mexican Cantelopes

March 3, 2020 from FDA:

During 2000, 2001, and 2002, there were four multi-state Salmonellosis outbreaks traced back to Mexican cantaloupes. The pathogen identified in three of the outbreaks was Salmonella Poona and in the other outbreak Salmonella Anatum. Reported cases per outbreak ranged from 35 to 50. There were two deaths in California associated with the 2001 outbreak. At least 18 people were hospitalized. All outbreaks occurred between March and June. FDA's traceback investigations implicated Mexican cantaloupe from the states of Michoacan and Guerrero as the source of the four outbreaks. In 1999, 2001, and 2002, FDA collected samples of Mexican cantaloupes for Salmonella analysis. The salmonella-positive samples include nearly all the major cantaloupe producing states in Mexico including Sonora (7), Jalisco (1), Colima (1), Coahuila (1), Mexico (1), and Tamauilpas (1). Positive samples cover both the fall/winter and spring/summer season.

Moreover, in the outbreaks of 2000, 2001, and 2002, the illnesses were spread over a wide geographical area in the U.S., as well as in Canada, and occurred over a 4 to 6 week period. These two facts also suggest that more than one shipment was the cause and make it extremely unlikely that a random natural event or events caused the contamination.

FDA believes that the source of Salmonella contamination is most likely attributable to a broader source of contamination. Sources of contamination may include irrigation of fields with water contaminated with sewage, processing ("cleaning and cooling") produce with Salmonella contaminated water, and/or poor hygienic practices of workers that harvest and process the produce, pests in packing facilities, and lack of adequate cleaning and sanitizing of equipment that comes in contact with the product.

Inspectional findings (conducted in response to the outbreaks) at a number of cantaloupe growing areas and packing sheds in Mexico reveal that Mexican cantaloupe are indeed manufactured, processed, or packed under gross insanitary conditions. Further, these inspections underscore the lack of an overall environmental sanitation program, as well as apparent lack of regulatory authority in Mexican law to address the insanitary conditions that FDA believes lead to Salmonella contamination. In addition, practices that result in product from different states being commingled means that any shipment of cantaloupe may contain fruit from states that have been the source of contaminated cantaloupe.

FDA believes that cantaloupe imported from Mexico appear to be adulterated under Section 801(a)(3) of the Act because they appear (1) to contain Salmonella, an added poisonous or deleterious substance that may render food injurious to health within the meaning of section 402(a)(1) of the Act and (2) to have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health within the meaning of Section 402(a)(4)of the Act. In addition, the cantaloupe violate section 801 (a)(1) of the Act in that they appear to have been manufactured, processed, or packed under insanitary conditions.

This alert covers both whole cantaloupe and sliced, chopped, or diced cantaloupe. The processing associated with producing fresh versus intact produce increases the opportunity for contamination and the chance of cross contamination over an even larger volume of product.

Furthermore, processes such as cutting, dicing, and slicing, increase the surface area available for contamination and growth of microorganisms. Nutrients to support microbial growth (i.e., from plant juices and exposed flesh) are also more available. Concerns about pathogens are further amplified when the characteristics of the particular fruit or vegetable (e.g. pH) can support their growth. This is the case with many vegetables, certain soft fruit, and melons, including cantaloupe.

Guidance: Districts may detain, without physical examination, all raw and raw fresh refrigerated cantaloupes, frozen, and processed cantaloupe, including fresh cantaloupe sliced/chopper for salad bars offered for importation from the country of Mexico.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1007

The information posted is from secondary sources. We cannot take responsibility for the accuracy of the information.
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