Company Seeks Reversal of Agency Action Restricting Import of
CORAL GABLES, Fla., Aug 24, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) --
Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Fresh Del Monte
Produce Inc. (NYSE:FDP), filed suit on Monday, August 22, 2011 against
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in U.S. District Court for the
District of Maryland to seek an injunction that would lift an FDA rule
restricting the importation of wholesome fresh cantaloupes into the
Del Monte Fresh is one the largest importer of cantaloupes into the U.S.
and is well known for selling fruit of the highest quality. The melons
are farmed, processed, transported, and stored under state-of-the-art
food safety controls that far exceed FDA regulatory requirements.
Del Monte Fresh's claims are based on the FDA's (and several other state
health agency officials') erroneous speculation, unsupported by
scientific evidence, that cantaloupes previously imported by Del Monte
Fresh from a Guatemalan farm and packing facility were contaminated with
the pathogen Salmonella. In fact, neither the FDA nor any state health
agency in the U.S. has offered evidence or data to support the FDA
"Del Monte Fresh Produce places the highest priority on food safety and
protecting customers. We require all of our suppliers to comply with all
FDA recommended food safety procedures, including the FDA's Guide to
Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables,
as well as the FDA's Sanitary Standard Operating Procedures. The farm
and packing facility at issue in this case was in full compliance with
these food safety procedures. The restrictions imposed by the FDA on Del
Monte Fresh Produce's ability to import cantaloupes are unnecessary and
not supported by the facts," said Dennis Christou, Vice President
Marketing, N.A. of Del Monte Fresh.
The FDA's actions adversely affect Del Monte Fresh's ability to receive
perishable fresh produce for sale to its customers in the U.S., as the
import alert threatens the viability of a major import source for
cantaloupes. Since significant resources and commitments must be
finalized immediately to ensure Guatemalan cantaloupes will be ready for
harvest in the near future, Del Monte Fresh is seeking immediate
injunctive relief from the court.
About Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.
Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. is one of the world's leading vertically
integrated producers, marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh
and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, as well as a leading producer and
distributor of prepared food in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the
countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. Fresh Del Monte markets its
products worldwide under the Del Monte(R) brand, a symbol of product
innovation, quality, freshness and reliability for more than 100 years.
SOURCE: Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.
For Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.
Sean Findlen, 617-320-8125 (Mobile)