July 7, 2008

Mexico Says U.S. Salmonella Outbreak Not Caused By Mexican Tomatoes

Mexico says U.S. salmonella outbreak not caused by Mexican tomatoes

MEXICO CITY, July 6 (Xinhua) -- The Mexican authorities said Sunday there was no evidence that the U.S salmonella outbreak came from Mexican tomato production.

"In Mexico there hasn't been a salmonella outbreak in recent months, and definitely not of the type being seen in the U.S.," Mexican Agriculture Ministry's spokesman Marco Antonio Sifuentes said.

Mexico has not been told of any U.S. plans to make more proofs in Mexican produce, as it was reported by TV news channel CNN, Sifuentes said.

U.S. health authorities are still trying to find the sources of the outbreak, while tomatoes continue to be the main focus of the probe, but the investigation has included also cilantro, jalapeno peppers, Serrano peppers, scallions and onions.

Mexico has not detected salmonella in any of those products, Sifuentes said.

U.S. inspectors are currently in Sinaloa and two other states of Mexico to take samples of tomatoes, soil water and check the export logs to verify salmonella is not present there, Sifuentes said.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not found in Mexican tomatoes the source of the salmonella outbreak.

In Sinaloa, the FDA inspectors have checked five farms in the past two weeks going through all the tomato's production procedures. The Mexican state grows about 40 percent of all the tomatoes exported to the United States.

U.S. restaurants have removed from their menu the dishes made with tomato, till the salmonella outbreak is under control.

The United States reported at least 943 cases of salmonella since April in 40 sates, and 130 people have been hospitalized, according to the FDA website.

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