FDA still plans spring raspberry ban
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Food and Drug Administration still plans to ban next spring’s crop of Guatemalan raspberries from being imported into this country, because growers have not yet discovered how the fruit became contaminated with a parasite called cyclospora.
The U.S. government blames fresh Guatemalan berries for sickening Americans who ate the berries last summer and in 1996. The parasite can cause days, even weeks of fever and diarrhea.
The FDA told Guatemalan growers late last summer that unless they discovered how the parasite could infect the crop, and how to stop it, the agency would not allow 1998 imports. FDA policy director Robert Lake told an international food meeting Monday that that decision still stands.
``We will not be accepting raspberries until the situation there is straightened out,″ he said, acknowledging that banning an entire crop before harvest ``is without precedence.″
Guatemalan Embassy official Roberto Rosenberg said berry growers still were working with the FDA to solve the problem.
Lake said the ban will affect Guatemala’s March through August harvest.