September 21, 2023

Consumers Warned About Pesticides in Cactus Pads

The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers not to eat cactus pads, also called noodles, that have been imported from Mexico because they have contain unapproved pesticides. This product was sold at specific retail and wholesale locations around the state and may have been sold in other states.

Public Health Alert

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation collected surveillance samples and found different pesticides on the product, including dimethoate, omethoate, monocrotophos and methidathion. The compounds were found at levels that pose a health risk. Monocrotophos and methidathion have been based for food use in this country for years. The FDA has been informed about this issue.

CDPH Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith said in a statement, “Anyone feeling ill after consuming cactus products should consult their health care provider. The symptoms of acute poisoning may include sweating, headache, weakness, nausea, vomiting, hypersalivation, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Consumption of monocrotophos can lead to neurotoxicity and permanent nerve damage.”

Contaminated cactus pads were offered for sale between January 23 and January 29, 2o18. They were sold at: Rancho San Miguel Markets in Madera, La Monarca Market in Lower Lake, FreshPoint Central California in Turlock, Arteaga’s Food Center in Sacramento, Stater Bros. Distribution Center in San Bernardino, and S&L Wholesale Produce in San Francisco.

DPS removed the cactus pads it could find from store shelves and distribution centers and quarantined or destroyed them. But government officials think that some of the noodles were sold to other stores in California, and also in Nevada and Oregon. The cactus pads were packaged with the brand names “Mexpogroup Fresh Produce,” “Aramburo,” or “Los Tres Huastecos.”

Brian Leahy, director of DPR said, “Many Californians eat cactus as part of their diet, but the pesticide levels we have found at some specific locations are concerning. We are not aware of any illnesses that have been reported to date, but we suggest that anyone who bought this product from these locations recently, return it to the place of purchase or dispose of it in the garbage.”

Washing or peeling the cactus will not remove the pesticides. People should not try to salvage any of this produce; throw it away in a sealed package or take it back to the place of purchase. Wash your hands well with soap and water after handling the product.


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