Several days after a Texas distributor announced a recall of fresh Mexican cilantro over salmonella concerns, it’s still unknown who purchased it.
On July 18, the Food and Drug Administration announced that McAllen-based Sweet Superior Fruit Ltd. Co. was recalling 104 crates of cilantro sold July 13-16. The cilantro “has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella,” according to an FDA release.
As of July 21, FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said the agency was not aware of any illnesses related to the potential contamination.
Kwisnek also said very little was known about Sweet Superior, which is located on the McAllen Produce Terminal Market.
The FDA detected the contamination as a result of routine surveillance import entry testing, Kwisnek said. The FDA does not have the authority to recall tainted produce, and companies are not required to notify the agency in the event of a recall.
“However, the FDA does work with food companies to help remove the recalled product from the marketplace, as is the case in this investigation,” Kwisnek said in an e-mail.
According to the FDA release, however, the cilantro was sold to individuals and companies through cash sales, and might have been further sold through direct retail sales in the McAllen region, or used as an ingredient in other products.
“A list of the company’s customers is not available because of the cash and carry nature of the business,” Kwisnek said.
“The agency continues to work to find out how the product became contaminated,” she said in the e-mail.
A phone message left at the company July 20 was not returned. Later that day and on July 21, no one answered calls to two company phone numbers, including one posted on the FDA Web site.