Since 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found Salmonella in 28 samples of fresh cilantro, Dr. Michael Landa, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said Friday.


The bad batches included both domestic and imported cilantro either in or about to enter commerce.

In a guidance letter to companies that grow, harvest, sort, pack and ship cilantro, FDA said that’s a problem. Cilantro is usually consumed raw, so it is crucial to minimize the potential for contamination to protect the public.

As it has previously done with leafy greens, sprouts and tomatoes, the agency recommended the produce industry review current cilantro operations, assess hazards that are unique to teh herb, and develop commodity-specific control strategies.

The FDA also offered its technical assistance, but warned that the agency “intends to take appropriate enforcement action against firms and farms that distribute adulterated fresh produce or grow or pack fresh produce under insanitary conditions.”