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FDA samples fresh herbs, guacamole, and processes avocado for food safety

As of September 30, 2019, the FDA has tested 1,214 fresh herb samples (746 domestic, 468 import). As of October 15, 2019, the FDA has tested 887 processed avocado or guacamole samples (777 domestic, 110 import).

Of the fresh herb samples, 13 tested positive for Salmonella (4 domestic, 9 import), and nine tested positive for Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) (4 domestic, 5 imported). Further study showed that the STEC were incapable of causing severe illness. The FDA did not detect E. coli O157:H7 in any of the fresh herb samples. The FDA also began testing its fresh herb samples for Cyclospora cayetanensis in July 2018, given that Cyclospora-related illnesses typically occur during the summer. The agency detected Cyclospora in 16 of the 666 fresh herbs samples tested (4 domestic, 12 imported). With respect to the fresh herb samples, testing is still underway. No conclusions can be drawn at this time.

Of the processed avocado or guacamole samples, 15 tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes (13 domestic, 2 import), and two tested positive for Salmonella (both domestic samples). The FDA concluded its collection of processed avocado and guacamole samples with the close of fiscal year 2019. The FDA has recently begun its analysis of the processed avocado and guacamole samples and the results will be published in the final report.

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