Tainted Cilantro

Cilantro from Sabor Farms might be contaminated with Salmonella

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

Sabor Farms, LLC. of Salinas, CA is recalling fresh cilantro because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The cilantro was on store shelves in multiple states beginning January 14 and likely sold or removed from sale before January 28, 2011. There have been no illnesses reported.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea which may be bloody. Most infected people recover within a week; however, some may develop complications that require hospitalization. Infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for more severe illness. People who develop symptoms of Salmonella infection after consuming cilantro should consult their health care provider.

Consumers should be aware that the cilantro bunches do not contain identifying lot codes. Each bunch is sold with a distinctive, but general twist-tie for cilantro. Samples of the four relevant twist ties are pictured below.

For purposes of retailers and distributors, the packaging from which test samples were taken did have specific lot codes that allowed for product traceback to the specific farm and harvest dates (Jan. 13 – 14, 2011). The potentially affected products are:

Nature’s Reward label 05013 22/ 16 10 and 05014 22/ 16 10,
Ocean Mist label 16 cisf 1j / 2 0113 11 and 16 cisf 1j / 2 011411,
Tanimura & Antle label 22 01 13 151348 and 22 01 14 151348 and
Queen Victoria label 16520142 / 16 10 22 and 16520132 / 16 10 22.
No other brands or lots are affected.

The Salmonella contamination was detected in a USDA Microbiology Data Program test of cilantro harvested by Sabor Farms. Sabor Farms has contacted the four companies that received potentially affected lots of cilantro and confirmed that no product remains in their inventories. However, in an abundance of caution, and because of the over-riding concern for the health and safety of our customers, this release is being issued. No other cilantro sold and marketed by Sabor Farms or its customers is affected by this recall.

Consumers who believe they have purchased the affected cilantro should not consume any of the product. Consumers who have concerns may contact Sabor Farms at (831) 970-9754 or by email at info@saborfarms.com .

Sabor Farms has received no complaints, but chooses to proactively withdraw any cilantro and to notify the public as a precautionary measure. Company President William Quinlan issued the following statement:

“The safety of our consumers is always our top priority. Period. Even though it is unlikely this would pose a health concern, we believe the prudent and proper course of action is to pull the product back. Using product and shipping codes, we are working closely with health officials as well as our distributors and wholesalers to quickly and efficiently locate and dispose of the cilantro. If there is any question about the source of cilantro you should discard it, and any items prepared with it.”