The FDA has responded to over 100 cases of Salmonella linked to papayas exported from Mexico by increasing food security at the border. The culprit, a bacterial strain called Salmonella Agona, spread to 23 states. Mexico currently supplies 65 percent of the papayas consumed in the U.S.
An FDA alert instructed border representatives to deny entry to shipments of papayas from Mexico unless importers provide proof of the shipment's safety by a validated laboratory. The FDA acted after finding that 15.6 percent of tested samples were contaminated with Salmonella. The samples were supplied from nearly all producing areas in Mexico, leading experts to conclude that the contamination was widespread.
FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Helps Protect Imports
The new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which takes steps to vastly improve food safety on imports, empowers FDA with the ability to detain foods at the border.
"This authority strengthens significantly the FDA's ability to keep potentially harmful food from reaching U.S. consumers," said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Mike Taylor. "It is a prime example of how the new food safety law allows FDA to build prevention into our food safety system."
Under the new provisions, exporters have to prove they are following a set of mandated safety rules set forth by the FDA. Those importing food into the country are also required to disclose whether another country has refused to accept the same product for any reason.
But still the best way to control food safety at home is to buy foods locally from trusted farmers--that is no papayas unless you live in a tropical or subtropical part of the globe.
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