Salmonella detected on cilantro from Cutchogue farm

04/22/2011 1:53 PM |

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recalled 138 pounds of cilantro from Satur Farms in Cutchogue, citing potential salmonella contamination.

According to a release from the FDA, the cilantro has been distributed to six customers in New York City and Long Island, but no illnesses have been reported.

The FDA said the salmonella had been found in a routine test of lot number 6347, listed on a small white label on bags of the cilantro, and that two subsequent lots of Satur Farms cilantro have tested negative.

Satur Farms spokeswoman Paulette Satur said Friday that the cilantro was purchased by six restaurants more than 10 days ago, and that it had likely been used by the restaurants before the tests were even completed and no one was sickened by the bacteria.

“To test it, they incubate it for 24 hours,” she said, adding that the USDA had been conducting a routine inspection at the restaurant at the time the cilantro was taken for testing.

“You can’t hold the product from distribution until the tests are back,” she said.

“We tested the seeds, subsequent lots, and everything tested negative,” she said. “It might have been just an aberration. Most raw fruits and vegetables do contain salmonella. It’s only above a certain threshold that it causes problems.”

The FDA said the seed used to grow the cilantro is believed to be a suspected source of the contamination, and the agency is conducting further test on the cilantro seed.

None of the suspect cilantro was shipped to retailers.

“This happens more and more. Farms are going to be tested. The FDA has a mandate to step up inspections,” said Ms. Satur. “They will find these things because they exist already in wind, soil and seed.”

Food service customers who have purchased cilantro from lot 6347 are urged to return it to Satur Farms, though Ms. Satur said customers should probably not use cilantro that they bought more than two weeks ago, regardless of whether it is contaminated.

Customers with questions can contact Satur Farms at 631-734-4219, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.