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FDA issues partial ban on cilantro from Mexico

After health officials found human feces and toilet paper in the growing fields in the state of Puebla in Mexico,  the US has issued a partial ban on cilantro coming from Mexico. The Food and Drug Administration will detain Mexican cilantro at the border from April to August and won’t allow products from the state of Puebla, Mexico, into the U.S. without inspections and certification, according to an import ban dated Monday by the agency. Read more here.

The Mexican cilantro has been linked to outbreaks of cyclosporiasis. Last year, at least 304 people in the U.S. came down with the parasitic illness, which can cause diarrhea and explosive bowel movements, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So what’s going on at these fields? Since 2013, the FDA has inspected farms and packing facilities in Puebla that produce cilantro. 8 out of 11 fields that were inspected had bathrooms with no soap, running water or toilet paper. Some had no bathrooms at all! According to the CDC, there have been recurring outbreaks of cyclosporiasis connected to fresh cilantro from Puebla, Mexico in the US every year since 2012, the most recent one is currently occurring (July 2015). Read the FDA’s full report here.

U.S. restaurant companies that use cilantro said they don’t expect to be affected by the partial ban. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., who uses the herb in it’s guacamole, rice and salsa, said all of it’s cilantro comes from California, not Mexico. Taco Bell, who uses cilantro in it’s rice, pico de gallo, salsa and guacamole, also stated that it gets their guacamole from Mexico.