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FDA Links Jalapeno Peppers to Salmonella Outbreak

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By Admin on July 23, 2008 9:24 AM

A number of grocery store chains have pulled jalapeno peppers from their produce aisles, after federal health officials announced that a strain of salmonella bacteria linked to a nationwide outbreak was detected on a jalapeno pepper.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's warning on jalapenos came Monday, after Salmonella Saintpaul bacteria was detected on a raw jalapeno pepper imported from Mexico and found at Agricola Zaragoza, a produce distributor in McAllen, Texas. Testing revealed a genetic match to a strain of Salmonella Saintpaul bacteria linked to thousands of illnesses nationwide. Prior warnings from FDA and other health agencies had tied fresh tomatoes to the same Saintpaul strain, but that warning has since been lifted. The Los Angeles Times reports that a number of southern California grocers have begun pulling jalapeno peppers from their shelves, after initially continuing to sell them in the wake of Monday's announcement, a move that "highlighted the conflicting messages that the nation's mostly voluntary food safety network sends out at times like this." HEB Grocery Co., a Texas-based chain, has also pulled jalapenos from its shelves.

FDA is advising consumers to avoid eating raw jalapeno peppers (or foods made from raw jalapeno peppers). The warning does not include cooked or pickled jalapeno peppers.