New salmonella warnings for peppers

July 10, 2008 4:13:39 AM PDT
Federal health officials are now warning certain people to stay away from types of hot peppers and the spice cilantro.The FDA now says tomatoes may not be the only culprits in the nationwide salmonella outbreak. As of yesterday, they're warning people away from jalapenos and Serrano peppers as well.

The salmonella outbreak that began this spring has now sickened more than 1,000 people in 41 states, including 11 people in Pennsylvania and 9 in New Jersey.

Last month, the FDA warned that tomatoes were the likely source of the outbreak and told people to avoid them.

But yesterday, they said further research has them looking at jalapenos and Serrano peppers, along with fresh cilantro, as well.

They're often eaten together with tomatoes in salsa or Pico de Gallo.

The FDA is now testing imported produce at the borders. Still, they're urging the elderly, infants and people with compromised immune systems to avoid all of the suspicious items.

This latest warning is bound to be a tough hit to growers and importers.

Already, Sysco, the largest food distributor in North America, has said they'll stop receiving and distributing jalapenos and Serranos.

Mexican restaurants are likely to feel the hit as well.