Taylor Farms suspends Mexican operations in wake of Cyclospora outbreak

by Keith Nunes
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SALINAS, CALIF. – Taylor Farms has suspended production of salad mix and leafy greens from its plant in Mexico. The plant has been linked to a Cyclospora outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska.

To maintain supply for customers, the company said it has shifted production of salad mix and leafy greens to domestic crops and processing plants in California, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Maryland.

“We expect the suspension of salad products to last several weeks,” the company said in a statement. “The production of broccoli products will continue in Mexico as broccoli is not subject to this investigation.”

As of Aug. 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, has been notified of more than 535 cases of Cyclospora infection from 19 health departments, including: Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New York City, Ohio, and Virginia.

Products produced by Taylor Farms’ operations in Mexico only have been linked to the Cyclospora cases in Iowa and Nebraska. The C.D.C. said it is not yet clear whether all of the 535 cases reported are all part of the same outbreak. The Food and Drug Administration said it is continuing its investigation and has not ruled out any possibilities.

A trace back investigation conducted by the F.D.A. confirmed findings by the state health departments in Iowa and Nebraska that leafy greens and salad mix from Taylor Farms plant in Mexico is linked to the outbreak in those two states. The F.D.A. will conduct an environmental assessment of Taylor Farms’ processing facility in Mexico to try to learn the probable cause of the outbreak and identify preventive controls to put in place to try and prevent a recurrence. The most recent inspection of the facility, in 2011, conducted by the F.D.A. found no notable issues, the agency said.

As a result of the outbreak, the F.D.A. is increasing its surveillance efforts on green leafy products exported to the U.S. from Mexico.

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