The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers that jalapeño and Serrano peppers grown in the United States are not connected with the current Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak.
However, the FDA continues to advise consumers to avoid raw jalapeño peppers--and the food that contains them--if they have been grown, harvested or packed in Mexico.
In addition to domestically grown raw jalapeño peppers, commercially canned, pickled and cooked jalapeño peppers from any and all geographic locations also are not connected with the current Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak.
The FDA is working with state regulatory agencies and food industry groups that represent restaurants, grocery stores and wholesalers to ensure everyone clearly understands this new, more narrow, advisory. The FDA will continue to refine its consumer guidance as the agency’s investigation continues.
The more narrow advisory the FDA is issuing today (July 25, 2008) is based on evidence gathered during a multi-week, intensive investigation conducted in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health authorities in several U.S. states to find the source of the contamination that led to the outbreak. The collective review of the current traceback investigation and harvesting dates, matched with the dates that people became ill, have combined to indicate that the contaminated jalapeño pepper originated in Mexico.
Additional traceback and traceforward information obtained last week has led to the determination that the Agricola Zarigoza produce-distribution center in McAllen, Texas--from where FDA took the positive jalapeño pepper sample--was not the original source of the contamination.
The FDA is continuing to advise that people in high-risk populations, such as elderly persons, infants and people with impaired immune systems, avoid eating raw Serrano peppers from Mexico or food made from raw Serrano peppers from Mexico until further notice.