Since hundreds of people contracted hepatitis
after eating contaminated vegetables at a Mexican restaurant in the fall of 2003, food safety experts have clamped down on fresh produce imported to the United States. The Food and Drug Administration is asking Congress to approve a multi-million dollar inspection program that will allow the government to examine thousands of suppliers importing fruits and vegetables to the country.
The new plan comes at an important time for consumers as statistics indicate America's consumption of produce is rapidly growing. Since 1990, fruit and vegetable consumption rose about 15 percent while produce imports rose nearly 50 percent. Unfortunately, food-borne illnesses linked to fresh produce also increased dramatically. The number of produce-related outbreaks increased 300 percent from 1990 to 2001.
In November 2003, three people died and more than 600 others fell ill due to a hepatitis A outbreak at a Chi-Chi's Mexican restaurant near Pittsburgh. Investigators believe the outbreak is linked to green onions imported from Mexico.
An estimated 70 percent of all imported vegetables come from Mexico. At 19 percent, Chile is the largest fruit supplier to the United States.
If you have fallen seriously ill because of contaminated produce, either purchased from a grocery store or restaurant, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Food Products & Restaurants
- Diarrhea: Overview
- Hepatitis: Overview