Background on FDA Assessment and Testing Procedures at Taylor Farms de Mexico
From August 11, 2013 and August 19, 2013, the FDA, in cooperation with CDC and numerous Mexican regulatory agencies and over 15 food safety professionals conducted a root cause analysis of the Taylor Farms de Mexico facility and 5 targeted ranches. The FDA found no indication of sources of Cyclospora, evidence of Cyclospora cross-contamination vectors or the presence of Cyclospora in tests taken during this assessment.
Between August 5, 2013 and August 26, 2013, Taylor Farms de Mexico analyzed over 1,180 samples specifically for Cyclospora, all of which have been negative. These samples range from agricultural inputs (wells, irrigation water, soil) to leafy greens tissue samples to sanitary waste samples. All analyses were conducted according to BAM Chapter 19A by a satellite laboratory in Mexico of an accredited parent laboratory headquartered in Washington State. Taylor Farms has reviewed thousands of other data points for the production dates in question and have found no irregularities that would indicate a potential for contamination.
On August 25, 2013, in consultation and in cooperation with the FDA, Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. has resumed full operations. The resumption of production follows Taylor Farms' voluntary suspension of operations by the company to dedicate all resources to the FDA's onsite assessment of our processing and field operations.
The FDA has now completed its environmental assessment of Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. The assessment took place from August 11-19, 2013 and included the facility's processing operations and five associated farms. We have been notified by the FDA that during their assessment, the FDA team found no indication of Cyclospora and found that conditions and practices observed at these facilities at the time of the assessment were in accordance with known food safety protocols.
On August 26, 2013, the CDC announced, “The preliminary analysis of results from an investigation into a cluster of cases that ate at a Texas restaurant does not show a connection to Taylor Farms de Mexico.”
To date, more than 1,181 individual microscopic and DNA tests have been performed for Cyclospora throughout the farms, facilities and products at Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. All tests have been negative. Taylor Farms has reviewed thousands of data points for the production dates in question and have found no irregularities that would indicate a potential for contamination. The health and safety of consumers is our first priority. Out of an abundance of caution, the company has instituted a Cyclospora prevention program and will continue to test for the parasite as part of normal operations.
Based on our testing and all related data points, the data indicates that our products are safe to eat.
On August 12, 2013, Taylor Farms, officially informed FDA that, as of Friday, August 9, Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. voluntary suspended production of salad mix and leafy greens from our processing facility in Mexico. This decision allows Taylor Farms de Mexico to focus more resources on assisting the FDA in their investigation of the June Cyclospora outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska. We continue to be very confident in our Mexico operation throughout our own review of our existing, and recently further enhanced, food safety procedures, systems and critical control points.
To maintain supply for our customers, Taylor Farms has shifted production of salad mix and leafy greens to domestic crops and processing facilities in California, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, and Maryland. We expect the suspension of salad products to last several weeks. The production of broccoli products will continue in Mexico as broccoli is not subject to this investigation.
We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.
As the FDA investigation continues, we want to assure you that the health and safety of our customers is, and always will be, our top priority. As part of our internal investigation, Taylor Farms de Mexico has expanded our aggressive testing program. That program includes the testing of water sources and raw product for current shipments . All test results have been negative for cyclospora, as have all previous tests.
We are cooperating fully with the FDA as they continue their environmental and facility assessment of Taylor Farms de Mexico. We eagerly await more detailed information as it is available from the FDA.
On August 2, 2013 the FDA announced that Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. was the supplier of salad mix implicated by public health authorities in Iowa and Nebraska as the source of the June Cyclospora outbreak.
Taylor Farms de Mexico is cooperating fully with the FDA in their ongoing investigation.
We care deeply about the health and welfare of our customers and are absolutely committed to ensuring every salad we produce is great tasting, healthy, wholesome and, most importantly, safe. This is why Taylor Farms de Mexico assesses and tests all water sources, raw product fields; every lot, every day for any risk to our valued customers’ products. We are redoubling and enhancing our testing and scrutiny in these areas to further assure food safety.
We have invited the FDA to visit our Taylor Farms de Mexico facility to do a thorough review of our extensive food safety systems including an environmental assessment. Taylor Farms de Mexico invited the FDA to audit this same plant in 2011 and their assessment of the facility and operation was outstanding “with no notable issues.” The Mexico facility is state of the art and has an exceptional food safety record from the fields to finished products.
In this past month of June, Taylor Farms de Mexico produced and distributed about 48 million servings of salads to thousands of restaurants in the Midwest and eastern United States. Our team is dedicated to ensuring each of the two million salads we produce every day at Taylor Farms de Mexico is healthy and wholesome.
The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority. We can confirm statements by the Midwest health officials that product supplied during the month of June is no longer in the supply chain and bagged salad is safe to eat.
Taylor Farms’ eleven other plants in North America are not associated with the outbreak.
Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. De R.L. de C.V. exclusively provides fresh cut and value added produce to the foodservice industry. The company’s operations include a state of the art processing plant, industry leading SmartWash food wash enhancement system for mitigation of cross contamination, and progressive field testing programs.
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