After three months and nearly 1,260 cases of foodborne illness in the U.S. and Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday announced it found a Mexican-grown jalapeno pepper at a Texas distribution facility contaminated with the rare Saintpaul strain of salmonella. The discovery led the distribution company to recall its jalapenos, which have been distributed in Texas and Georgia.
The FDA is also advising consumers to stop eating raw jalapeno peppers until further notice. The warning does not apply to cooked or pickled jalapenos.
TOMATOES IN CLEAR
Monday's pepper warnings come on the heels of the FDA's announcement last week that it is lifting its warning--in place since early June--against eating fresh red round and Roma tomatoes. The tomato warnings have led to drastic losses for tomato growers and the food industry as diners shy away from the fruit.
The FDA also advises people in high-risk populations--such as the elderly, infants and those with compromised immune systems--to avoid eating raw serrano peppers until further notice.
Solving the mystery behind the salmonella outbreak, the worst in U.S. history tied to fresh produce, has been frustrating to officials, who have been forced not only to trace the path tomatoes take from field to plate but also to examine the many ingredients served with tomatoes in dishes such as guacamole and pico de gallo.
FOOD SAFETY TIPS
The National Restaurant Association's Educational Foundation offers a range of food safety training and certification options. To learn more about the ServSafe program, click here.
For news from the FDA, click here. For the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control, click here.
Photo by iStockphoto.com/ © Doug Campbell