The Food and Drug Administration is banning imports of some fresh cilantro from Puebla, Mexico, after a government investigation found human feces and toilet paper in growing fields there.
The FDA announced the partial ban Monday after cilantro imported from the state of Puebla was linked to 2013 and 2014 outbreaks of stomach illnesses in the United States. The FDA said health authorities in Texas and Wisconsin also suspect cilantro from the region is responsible for more illnesses this year.
Following up on the outbreaks, U.S. and Mexican health authorities investigated 11 farms and packing houses in Puebla over the last three years. The FDA said it discovered "objectionable conditions" at eight of those firms, including five that were linked to the U.S. outbreaks. The FDA said the officials discovered the feces and toilet paper in fields and found that some of the farms had no running water or toilet facilities.
The investigation also found dirty containers that had held cilantro and, at one firm, water that tested positive for the cyclospora parasite that caused the stomach illnesses.
In its "import alert" issued Monday, the FDA said it suspects the contamination came from "contact with the parasite shed from the intestinal tract of humans" in the growing fields, contaminated water or harvesting, processing and packing activities.
The ban will only affect certain shipments of fresh cilantro from Puebla from April through August, corresponding to the timing of the outbreaks. The summer ban will continue in future years unless a company can prove to health authorities that its product is safe.
Lay’s unveiled four new savory flavors for its “Do us a flavor” contest including the New York Reuben, Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro, Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries and Southern Biscuits and Gravy.
Curious to see if they’d stack up to their counterpart, the Daily News Taste Kitchen got an early taste of the snacks.
First up was the New York Ruben. This bite-sized morsal tasted like Katz’s and Second Ave. Deli had a brisket-corned beef love child.
“It’s not Kosher how good these are,” said one reporter of the smoky flavored chips with notes of coleslaw and rye bread. But another deligent taster noticed something missing.
“Where’s the pickles?” he demanded.
There wasn’t a lard to love about the Southern Biscuits and Gravy.
“If I had my eyes closed — which I always do in order to fully enjoy my biscuits and gravy — I would think these were merely herbed potato chips,” one scribe noted, of the chip loaded with rosemary flavoring.
“It tastes like Paula Deen’s armpit,” sneered another reporter.
Next up were the West Coast Truffle Fries. These chips packed the most crunch with the ridged exterior.
“These are tasty, but you’ll need a breath mint after,” commented a reporter.
The most authentically flavored chips were the Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro chips. Each bite tasted like lamb souvlaki and tzatziki sauce and had eaters shouting, ‘Opa!’
“This definitely tastes like Astoria smells,” said one pleased taster.
“It has the herb scent of a classic gyro and the kettle cooked chips are so much better,” he added.
The flavors are in stores nationwide now. Snackers can taste and vote for their favorite once a day at DoUsAFlavor.com or via hashtag on Twitter and Instagram starting July 27. The winning flavor will be revealed this October.