July 17, 2008
A South Texas produce importer/distributor is voluntarily recalling avocados, serrano peppers and jalapeno peppers after laboratory tests by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) laboratory and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services lab found salmonella in samples of those products from the company.
But DSHS officials said the salmonella strain found in serranos and jalapenos tested by DSHS is not the strain responsible for the nationwide outbreak of salmonellosis over the past two months.
The outbreak strain is salmonella, group B, type saintpaul. The salmonella detected in the peppers DSHS tested is salmonella, group C1. The North Carolina lab found salmonella in avocados and jalapenos, but results of tests to identify the group and type are pending.
DSHS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are overseeing the recall being done by Grande Produce, Hidalgo.
The detections were made in ongoing efforts to find the source of the salmonella causing the national outbreak. The DSHS lab has tested some 70 food products for salmonella in recent weeks. The only two found to be contaminated were the serranos and jalapenos from Grande.
DSHS and FDA are working to identify where the avocados, serranos and jalapenos from Grande were shipped and where and how the recalled produce was contaminated. The company's clients are being notified to pull the products.
Consumers and food services personnel are reminded to wash any fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating or serving.
Officials said the findings and subsequent recall are limited to those specific products from Grande Produce. At this point, they do not apply to all avocados, serranos and jalapenos on the market, to products from any other distributor or to Texas-grown produce in general.
(News Media: For more information contact William Ayres, DSHS Communications Unit, 512-458-7400.)