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