The good news is that Chipotle’s guacamole is going to be fine. The bad news is you might not want to eat any Mexican cilantro for a while.
The US Food and Drug Administration is detaining cilantro from the Mexican state of Puebla through the end of August, Bloomberg reports, because of “objectionable conditions” found at farms and packing houses. Those conditions range from a lack of soap in the bathrooms to “human feces and toilet paper found in growing fields and around facilities.”
The FDA and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have linked Pueblan cilantro with outbreaks of cyclosporiasis dating back to 2012. The disease is caused by a parasite that induces ”prolonged and severe diarrheal illness.” The illness is most often found in the tropics and subtropics, and is not common in the US.
The FDA believes the fresh cilantro was most likely contaminated with the parasite through its contact with “growing fields, harvesting, processing or packing activities” or through contaminated irrigation, crop protectants or waste waters in Puebla.
Chipotle and Taco Bell both told Bloomberg that they get their cilantro from California, so fast food fans can breathe easy.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest said the case highlights the need for farmworkers to “have the kind of adequate toilet, handwashing, and sanitation facilities that will prevent the appalling conditions FDA found in Puebla.”