July 28, 2015 — Human feces and toilet paper found in cilantro fields in Puebla, Mexico probably caused several massive outbreaks of food poisoning from the Cyclospora parasite and the FDA has banned imports.
Inspectors with the FDA and Mexican health officials visited 11 farms in Puebla and found serious sanitation issues at eight of them.
Multiple farms lacked toilets, running water, and hand-washing facilities. At several farms, food-contact surfaces (plastic crates and tables) were visibly dirty and not washed. Water that was used for washing purposes was vulnerable to contamination from raw sewage. For example, at one farm, a water tank used for bathroom hand-washing tested positive for Cyclospora.
Sources of contamination may include:
- Fecal contamination of growing areas
- Irrigation of fields with water contaminated with sewage
- Cleaning or cooling produce with contaminated water
- Poor hygienic practices of workers that harvest and process the produce
- Lack of adequate cleaning and sanitizing of equipment that comes in contact with the product
The Cyclospora parasite is endemic to Mexico but not the United States. Infections mostly occurred in travelers to subtropical regions until 2012, when hundreds of people were sickened in a massive outbreak of cyclosporiasis. Similar outbreaks have occurred every summer since then, with at least 200 people sickened in Texas this year alone.
Cyclospora spreads when people ingest food or water contaminated with feces. The illness causes several days of watery diarrhea, but can last months without treatment. Other symptoms may include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, cramps, bloating, and low fever.
Do I have a Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting food poisoning cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with cyclosporiasis, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Food Poisoning Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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