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Health Agencies Update
January 28, 2004


JAMA. 2004;291(4):415. doi:10.1001/jama.291.4.415-d

Following a resurgence of sales of live, baby turtles in the Houston area, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning individuals not to purchase any pet turtles with a carapace of less than 4 inches. The FDA warning can be found at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2003/NEW00997.html. In 1970, the FDA banned the sale of turtles with shells 4 inches in length or less after a quarter million small children were diagnosed as having turtle-associated salmonellosis. (The FDA-imposed ban allows for some exceptions, including purchase for scientific research.) The agency issued the warning after learning that malls in the Houston area were selling the tiny terrapins despite the continuing prohibition.

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