July 14, 2008

Mexican Ministry:FDA Study Shows Mexican Tomatoes Not Salmonella- Tainted Source

Mexican ministry:FDA study shows Mexican tomatoes not salmonella- tainted source

MEXICO CITY, July 10 (Xinhua) -- The Mexican Agriculture Ministry said U.S. health authorities have confirmed that Mexican tomatoes are not the source of the salmonella outbreak in 23 American states, local media reported Thursday.

Mexican Agriculture Secretary Alberto Cardenas said earlier that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ended its tests on Mexican tomatoes, and the results showed that the recent salmonella outbreak in America has no link with Mexico.

He said the Mexican government called on the U.S. to clarify the facts immediately and resume imports of Mexican tomatoes as soon as possible.

Cardenas said planting, cultivation and harvesting of Mexican tomatoes meet strict standards.

In addition, the Mexican tomato industry owns export licenses and its products meet all international quarantine conditions.

Mexico's tomato exports, a big source of income for farmers, were all but halted by the salmonella outbreak, which began in April.

Fernando Miranda Blanco, a representative of the northern state of Sonora, said a total of 2,259 hectares of tomatoes were planted in Sonora, which will produce 28,600 tons of tomatoes for the U.S. market in 2008.

The situation would turn grave for Mexico's tomato industry if the U.S. maintains the salmonella alert and closure of borders, Blanco said.

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea in humans. Some 40,000 cases of salmonella are reported in the United States each year.

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