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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Salmonella fear prompts recall of basil shipped to California, Texas and Illinois

AP reported that 5,500 pounds of "Green Paradise" brand basil has been recalled. The basil was shipped in sets of 12 one-pound boxes marked with lot No. 1219. The basil grown in Mexico and sold in the United States has been recalled because of fears it may be infected with Salmonella. The basil was imported from a farm in Mexico’s southern Baja California region on December 5th and sold to food distributors in California, Texas and Illinois the following day by Top Line Specialty Produce in California. Top Line sold the basil to restaurants and other food service customers, but it was unknown whether the other distributors sold to food service customers or retailers.

It is clear that this in not the first time Basil has been linked to recalls and illnesses.  AP reported in May 2004 that Federal regulators are alerting consumers that raw basil and spring mix salad may be linked to food-poisoning outbreaks that reportedly sickened more than 90 people in Illinois and Texas.  In August 2005, the FDA Notified Processors of Recall of Fancy Whole Basil Due to Possible Health Risk. The FDA advised processors and repackers that Majestic International Spice Corporation of Montebello, CA, recalled its dried “Extra Fancy Basil” spice in 12.5 kilogram bags because FDA found the product contaminated with Salmonella Blockley.  Contaminated fresh basil was suspected as the most likely cause of an outbreak of the parasitic illness cyclospora that has sickened 300 Floridians in October 2005.  And in May 2007, the British Food Standards Agency advised people who bought certain batches of fresh packets of basil from ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Somerfield stores not to eat them.

All that being said, the BBC reported in June 2003 that a Basil Herb wrap wards off food poisoning.

The herb basil is the crucial ingredient in a super wrap being developed to protect food more effectively from contamination by dangerous bugs. Scientists are using anti-microbial extracts from the herb to create a plastic wrapper for meat and cheese. The chemicals slowly ooze out from the wrapper – and extend the product’s shelf-life by killing off bacteria such as E. coli and listeria which can cause severe food poisoning.

Goes to show that you can find anything on the internet – thanks, Al Gore.  Interestingly, South Dakota has seen an increase in salmonella cases according to a warning from the State Health Department following a spike in salmonella cases this year.