July 21, 2008
The strain of salmonella bacteria responsible for the nationwide outbreak of salmonellosis has been found in laboratory tests of jalapeno peppers collected from a produce importer/distributor in McAllen. The jalapenos are being recalled.
Salmonella saintpaul was detected in tests by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration laboratory in Denver. Authorities said it is the first detection of the outbreak strain in a food item since the outbreak was announced in early June. Previous detections of salmonella saintpaul were in lab testing of samples from people who were ill.
The peppers, which were grown in Mexico, were collected by FDA from the importer/distributor Agricola Zaragoza. This recall is limited to jalapenos from Agricola Zaragoza and does not apply to any other jalapenos on the market or to any other produce.
Investigators have not yet determined where or how the jalapenos from Agricola Zaragoza were contaminated. The company is doing a voluntary recall of jalapenos it has shipped since June 30. Wholesalers, retailers and other suppliers that have received the recalled peppers are instructed to remove them from the market. The FDA is overseeing the recall.
DSHS advises consumers and food services personnel to thoroughly wash any fresh fruits and vegetables before eating or serving.
Some 1,251 cases of salmonellosis caused by the saintpaul strain have been confirmed in the United States and Canada, including 475 in Texas.
Federal, state and local public health and food safety agencies are continuing to investigate.
More information is available at www.fda.gov.
(News Media: For more information contact William Ayres, DSHS Communications Unit, 512-458-7400.)