143 sickened; ‘PLUs were a mess’ mango board pledges improvements

With at least 143 Americans and Canadians sickened with Salmonella Braenderup linked to mangoes from Agricola Daniella of Sinaloa, Mexico, this fall, the National Mango Board decided it might be an apt time to review good agricultural practices (GAPs).

The Packer reports William Watson, executive director of the National Mango Board, told Fresh Summit 2012 attendees the board has undertaken a risk assessment in mango producing nations of Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala and the U.S. A scientific advisory board is being formed to review findings of the risk assessment and develop good agricultural practices – especially for post-harvest operations.

Watson reminded the mango producers and importers that the commodity board’s activities are limited by federal law. He said the board is working with the Food and Drug Administration to develop the GAPs, which should be available to the industry by winter 2013.

“I know now that there are things I would have done differently,” Watson said. “We could have been two or three days faster getting information out. The PLUs were a mess.”

Many consumers and mainstream news reporters were confused about the price lookup codes listed initially by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency early in the recall. The mango board issued statements explaining that the PLUs relate to varieties and sizes of mangoes and not specific brands, but media reports had already done the damage.