What Austinites need to know about the FDA cilantro ban

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Cilantro is most often consumed raw, which increases the likelihood of getting sick if the herb is contaminated. Photo by Bruce R. Bennett for The Palm Beach Post.
Cilantro is most often consumed raw, which increases the likelihood of getting sick if the herb is contaminated. Photo by Bruce R. Bennett for The Palm Beach Post.

Cilantro is most often consumed raw, which increases the likelihood of getting sick if the herb is contaminated. Photo by Bruce R. Bennett for The Palm Beach Post.

News broke earlier today that the Food and Drug Administration was banning some cilantro coming from Mexico.

Cilantro haters, of which there are many, might rejoice, but in a taco-loving place like Austin, a ban on cilantro could be a big deal.

For now, here’s why it’s not and what you need to know:

  • The FDA ban only affects cilantro from some farms in the state of Puebla. Lots of other farms throughout Mexico and the U.S. grow cilantro and can fill in any gaps in the supply chain. At the moment, no restaurants or grocery stores are reporting a lack of cilantro.
  • Cilantro from other parts of Mexico can cross into the U.S., but only with proper documentation.
  • This outbreak of cyclosporiasis has been recurring for at least three years, but the Centers for Disease Control has only now been able to connect the cases to the farms, although some of the more recent cases haven’t been specifically connected to these Puebla farms.
  • Cooking kills the parasite that causes cyclosporiasis, but that doesn’t do cilantro-eaters much good because cilantro is an herb most frequently consumed raw.

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