Just 30 days ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was depicted as the tip of the spear in the “fast-moving “outbreak investigation of a Salmonella Braenderup outbreak associated with Mexican mangoes.
Within 24 hours, one distributor of Mexican mangoes — Splendid Products of California — did initiate a recall from the mango grower known as Agricola Daniella with multiple farms and a single packing house located in Sinaloa, Mexico.
Two weeks into the recall, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta said the Salmonella Braenderup outbreak had grown to include 121 people from 15 states with 25 requiring hospitalization.
But the “fast-moving” FDA investigation did not seem to be gaining much traction. The Mexican government went so far as to say that neither the U.S. nor Canada has conclusively linked the Salmonella contamination with their mangoes.
FDA responded to that with an import alert for Daniella brand mangoes, but the investigation did not seem to be going anywhere. One reason for that is that no FDA investigative team has yet ventured south of the border for the usual site inspections that follow outbreaks.
“FDA personnel have not visited the Agricola Daniella mango production facilities,” an agency spokesman told Food Safety News. “FDA continues to collaborate with and share information with Mexican and Canadian health and agricultural officials regarding this investigation.”
Time and time again, it’s been the quick inspections immediately after outbreaks that discover contaminated product and environmental samples.
For its part, FDA marked the one-month anniversary of the first recall by making its clear there were three other U.S. distributors of Agricola Daniella in addition to Splendid Products of Burlingame, CA. They are: Coast Citrus Distributors Inc. of San Diego, Food Source Inc. of Edinburg, TX and GM Produce Sales of Hidalgo, TX. Otherwise, it was a sort of roundup of all Daniella brand recall activity north of the border.
“As a result of the recalls, a number of firms supplied by these distributors have initiated recalls for mangoes and products containing mangoes, ” FDA said. But only mangoes from Agricola Daniella are included the recall by the distributors.
FDA, which in the past has often followed outbreak sources into Mexico, is for some reason not venturing there now at a time when U.S. imports of agricultural products from its southern neighbor have never been greater.
U.S. imports of agricultural products from Mexico totaled $15.8 billion in 2011, including more than $4 billion in fresh vegetables and $2.4 billion in fresh fruit excluding bananas.© Food Safety News