SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — California health officials are warning people not to eat cactus sold in several stores around the state including in several Bay Area communities because of the presence of unapproved pesticides.

The state Department of Public Health said Sunday that a recent inspection of cactus imported from Mexico found traces of Monocrotophos, a pesticide that has been barred from use in the United States since 1989. Consumption of the pesticide can lead to neurotoxicity and permanent nerve damage.

A recent routine surveillance sample collected by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) isolated as much as 5.8 parts per million of Monocrotophos.  The agency immediately took action to remove all of the product it could locate from store shelves and distribution centers. It has been quarantined and/or destroyed so that it doesn’t pose a threat to consumers. 

The department is urging anyone who bought the contaminated product at the following stores between Feb. 6 and 12 to return it or get rid of it.

The cactus was sold at: La Superior SuperMercados in Pittsburg, Sacramento, Stockton, and Woodland; Mercado del Valle in Concord; and La Sucursal Produce, Fresh American Produce and J&L Produce in Los Angeles.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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