A recent outbreak of Salmonella poisoning, linked to mangoes imported from Mexico, has forced the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) (www.fda.gov) to heavily increase its monitoring of the fruit imported from Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil and other countries.
Cases of Salmonella poisoning were reported in a total of 15 states. Of the infected, 33 reported symptoms that were severe enough to require hospitalization. Overall, 127 people were infected with a strain known as Salmonella Braenderup. No deaths have been reported.
A second, less severe outbreak was also detected. The Salmonella Worthington strain caused 16 cases of Salmonella poisoning throughout several states. The two strains, and the illnesses, were tied back to mangoes through victim interviews.
Mangoes from Mexico Found to be the Source of Bacteria
The FDA investigation traced the bacteria back to a Mexican mango producer, Agricola Daniella. While the FDA warned consumers not to eat mangoes from Agricola Daniella, it also stepped up its scrutiny of the company by placing it on an Import Alert list. This program demands that mangoes will not be allowed into the United States without proof from the supplier that they are free of Salmonella, which may require documentation from private testing labs..
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) found the mangoes likely to be contaminated as early as August. The FDA then came to the conclusion that the Mexican mangoes were likely tainted with Salmonella. Agricola Daniella operates a packing plant in Sinaloa, Mexico, and has several mango farms throughout the country.
Initially, there was contention with the Mexican government and Agricola Daniella regarding the accuracy of the findings; however, several United States distributors announced recalls leading to complete cooperation. Splendid Products of Burlingame, California, issued a recall for the Daniella mangoes and three other distributors quickly followed suit. GM Produce of Hidalgo, Texas, Food Source Inc. of Edinburg, Texas and Coast Citrus Distributors, Inc. of San Diego, California, all recalled mangoes provided by Agricola Daniella.
Current Outbreak is Declared Over
While the FDA investigation has concluded, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has declared the outbreak officially over, the CDC CORE Post-Response Team will be responsible for following up on the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the FDA and other agencies have put in place new measures to ensure the safety of mangoes imported from Agricola Daniella and suppliers from several other countries. New procedures have been put in place to monitor for bacteria both at the supplier level and the distributor level here in the United States.