California health officials and the Food and Drug Administration are warning customers who purchased basil imported by Top Line Specialty Produce that the product could be contaminated with Salmonella. The warning came after testing revealed some of the basil, which was imported from a farm in southern Baja California, Mexico, was contaminated.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the recall:
5,500 pounds of basil grown in Mexico and sold in the United States was recalled because of fears it may be infected with salmonella, a spokesman for the importer said Thursday.
The basil was imported from a farm in Mexico’s southern Baja California region on Dec. 5 and sold to food distributors in Southern California, Texas and Illinois the following day, said Alberto Martinez, a spokesman for Los Angeles-based importer Top Line Specialty Produce.
The Southern California distributor 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, he said.
While many dried spices are irradiated to prevent illness, fresh spices, such as basil and parsley, have been identified as the source of foodborne illness outbreaks in the past.