FDA increases inspections, tightens pepper imports






By Mary Avila
Monday, August 18, 2008 at 10:54 a.m.

Source of Article:  http://www.kgbt4.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=176316

Mexican produce imports are in the spotlight once again.

Health officials are still not sure what exactly is behind the salmonella epidemic but have tightened rules for importing peppers from Mexico.

Just last month, government inspectors visited a potentially infected plant in McAllen trying to get some answers.

U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) representatives were tight-lipped about the situation.

But the FDA said on Friday that it has placed tougher border screenings on a dozen Mexican distributors on its "import alert" list.

The new guidelines became an issue at ports of entry in the Rio Grande Valley last month.

Produce importers complained their loads were being held up for days and spoiling.

But FDA is still inspecting farms in Mexico where a handful of jalapeņo and serrano peppers were believed to have contained the bacteria.

More cases of salmonella contamination have since been uncovered although officials have not revealed how much salmonella bacteria has been found.



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