view current print edition




Two Mexican cucumber suppliers named in Salmonella outbreak probe

WASHINGTON — Two Mexican suppliers of cucumbers are now on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's Import Alert list after FDA followed the paper trail back from cucumbers eaten by six people who are part of a multi-state outbreak.

At least 73 people in 18 states are infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention announced April 25. Fourteen people have been hospitalized and no deaths reported in the latest outbreak.

On April 24, FDA named Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico, as linked to the outbreak and is blocking future shipments unless they test clean.

The FDA said it traced shipping records from six ill persons who consumed cucumbers to the distributor, Rio Rico, AZ-based Tricar Sales Inc., and to the Mexican suppliers.

Rod Sbragia, director of sales and marketing for Tricar Sales, said that the firm is cooperating fully and has furnished all records requested by FDA.

"The Import Alert informs FDA field personnel that FDA has sufficient evidence or other information to detain future shipments of cucumbers from these suppliers," FDA said. "Cucumbers from these two firms will remain on Import Alert until FDA has sufficient confidence that future shipments will be in compliance."

The CDC said that 30 of 45 ill persons (67 percent) interviewed as part of the investigation reported eating various types of cucumbers purchased or consumed at multiple locations or restaurants.

The number of illnesses has declined substantially since early March, CDC said, and there's no evidence contaminated cucumbers are still on the market.

"The investigation continues, in order to determine whether there are other possible sources of the outbreak," FDA said.