Skip to comments.Hepatitis Cases Spur Mexico Inspections
Posted on 11/25/2003 8:31:47 PM PST by blam
Hepatitis Cases Spur Mexico Inspections
Wednesday November 26, 2003 3:16 AM
By LISA J. ADAMS
Associated Press Writer
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico has closed four green onion growers - including three owned by U.S. companies - and started a new inspection plan sooner than planned following an outbreak of hepatitis linked to the vegetable from northwestern Mexico.
The moves should boost consumer confidence in Mexican produce and will aid growers by improving the image of their crops at home and abroad, Javier Trujillo, director of the Agriculture Department's division of health, safety and quality, said in an interview.
``It will help in large measure to generate confidence that if something has made it to the marketplace, it's the direct result of having met with hygiene standards,'' Trujillo told The Associated Press.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned imports from the four scallion growers after identifying them as a possible source for the hepatitis A outbreak that has killed at least four people and sickened hundreds in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Mexico has some 22 other producers of green onions whose exports are not affected.
Trujillo said the situation has prompted the government to move up a plan to inspect growers on a regular basis by region instead of conducting spot inspections of individual companies and products only after reports of trouble.
Mexico hopes to submit a plan for implementing the new program by the end of the year.
``The Mexican government pledges to use its authority to sanction the bad players who are not committed to their customers,'' he said.
The official said the government closed the four growers in the states of Baja California and Sonora because they did not comply with health standards.
``We concluded after our inspections that if the (tainted onions) were indeed Mexican, these companies had the greatest probability of having caused the contamination,'' he said.
The FDA will send a team to Mexico on Sunday to work with local authorities in trying to determine how the scallions became contaminated, said John Guzewich, director of emergency coordination and response at the agency's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
When NAFTA was going to be voted on, a group of us really studied it. Not only does produce not have to meet US handling and "safety" standards, they can use any pesticide on the stuff they want....that's Mexican standards. I never buy Mexican produce. This is what we can count on from here on if we continue to drive out our own farmers.
And if we stop buying the stuff altogether, Mexico will charge us under Nafta for destroying their economy with the help of a "court" that we have virtually no say in...fair trade??
I always try to buy as local as I can, support the home folks.
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