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FDA warns restaurants on using Mexican company's fresh basil

Federal, state and local food safety officials are investigating a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora illnesses potentially linked to fresh basil exported by Siga Logistics de RL de CV in Morelos, Mexico, according to the FDA. 

The federal food safety agency has strongly advised restaurants and other foodservice providers to stop using, serving or selling fresh basil exported by Siga Logistics de RL de CV, a news release said. It also advised restaurant operators who are uncertain of the source of the fresh basil they are using to stop doing so. And, of course, consumers are instructed not to buy, cook or consume the basil if its uncooked in items like pesto and salad. 

The investigation is continuing, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis indicated that contaminated fresh basil is the likely cause of the illnesses. Similarly, the FDA's traceback investigation showed that the fresh basil available where consumers were sickened was exported to the U.S. by Siga Logistics de RL de CV. 

As a result, the firm agreed to recall the herbs voluntarily upon the FDA's request and the agency has increased import screening on basil as it works to pinpoint the cause and identify all the distribution points involved, including restaurant brands. 

Symptoms of Cyclospora illness include diarrhea, cramping, nausea and fatigue, the CDC said.

Topics: Food Safety

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