Mexican Cilantro Contamination Spurs Partial U.S. Import Ban

July 28, 2015

07/28/15 Bloomberg

Giant sprinkler machines called ‘Pivote Central’ bring water to alfalfa fields in the Valle Hundido near Cuatro Cienegas. The wheels pivot around a center, connected to a well that supplies its water. The level of the aquifer that feeds these fields has dropped so much in the past decade that the surface water on the nearby lake Laguna Churince has completely disappeared. Residents are unsure which companies are behind the large alfalfa fields, but they speculate that they are related to large dairy farms near Torreón that use the alfalfa to feed their livestock. Officials estimate that there are more than 30 of these pivotes in the area.

Some Mexican cilantro is being banned in the U.S. after health officials found human feces and toilet paper in growing fields from which herbs have been linked to hundreds of intestinal illnesses among Americans dating back to 2012.

The Food and Drug Administration will detain Mexican cilantro at the border from April to August and won’t allow products from the state of Puebla, Mexico, into the U.S. without inspections and certification, according to an import ban dated Monday by the agency. Cilantro from other parts of Mexico will need documentation to prove the product isn’t from Puebla, about a two-hour drive southeast of Mexico City.

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Mexico Rights Commission to Probe Abuses Against Farm Workers

March 27, 2015

Fox News Latino, 3/25/2015

Migrant California vineyardMexico’s National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, announced an investigation into alleged abuses against farm workers by both employers and authorities in the Baja California peninsula.

Personnel traveled to the San Quintin farm in Baja California state to interview laborers who last week reported being mistreated by municipal, state and federal police officers during an ongoing strike to protest poor working conditions, the CNDH said.

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Mexico and Wal-Mart Launch Initiative to Improve Lives of Farmworkers

February 13, 2015

By Richard Marosi, 2/12/2015

Migrant farmworkersThe Mexican government and Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, have announced steps to improve the lives of the nation’s farmworkers, two months after a Los Angeles Times investigation detailed labor abuses at Mexican agribusinesses that supply major U.S. supermarket chains and restaurants.

Mexico’s secretary of agriculture, Enrique Martinez y Martinez, announced the creation Thursday of a “historic” alliance of produce industry groups that will focus on enforcing wage laws and improving housing, schools and healthcare for the more than 1 million laborers at export farms.

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The United States and Mexico sign statement of intent to strengthen produce safety

July 25, 2014

07/24/14 FDA

LimesThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the government of Mexico’s National Service for Agro-Alimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) and Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) signed a statement of intent forming a partnership to promote the safety of fresh and minimally processed agricultural products.

On Monday, July 21, 2014, FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., along with other FDA officials, traveled to Mexico to conduct a series of meetings with their Mexican regulatory counterparts from the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), of which SENASICA is a part, and the Ministry of Health, the parent agency of COFEPRIS, as part of their work to strengthen cooperation for produce safety.

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Limes: Mexico’s new green gold

April 10, 2014

LimesCNN, 4/10/14

Dressed in a white cowboy hat and shirt in the merciless sun, 63-year-old Juan Leana Malpica proudly pulls a branch down in his lime grove and cups a fruit. His limes, he says, set themselves apart by their juiciness.

He has been growing the fruit for the last 12 years and has never experienced a time of such upheaval.

Officially, lime prices are in a spiral of hyperinflation, the national average jumping at a monthly average of around 50% this year.

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Past and future collide as Mexico fights over GMO corn

November 13, 2013

Reuters, 11/12/2013

corn - loose yellow cornReligion, culture and science are competing for primacy in the debate on how acceptable corn produced by genetically modified organisms (GMO) is in a country where farmers first domesticated maize about 8,000 years ago.

Last month a federal judge in Mexico City created a stir by ordering a temporary halt to any new GMO corn permits, accepting a lawsuit brought by opponents of the crop. It was widely interpreted as a definitive ban on the commercial use of GMO corn in Mexico, but experts say it will likely just delay any resolution into 2014 or beyond.

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U.S. Reaches Deal With Mexican Growers on Tomato Imports

February 4, 2013

tomatoesBloomberg, 2/3/2013

The U.S. Commerce Department and tomato growers from Mexico agreed to revive a 17-year-old pact governing prices for the goods, potentially averting a trade war between the two nations.

The agency and Mexican producers yesterday signed a draft agreement to prevent imports of fresh or chilled tomatoes from Mexico from being sold in the U.S. below production costs. The Commerce Department in September issued a preliminary decision to end the pricing accord, in place in various versions since 1996, after a complaint from U.S. tomato growers.

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