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FDA warns on jalapenos from Mexico

July 26, 2008|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Only jalapeno peppers grown in Mexico are implicated in the nationwide salmonella outbreak, the government announced Friday in clearing the U.S. crop.

The Food and Drug Administration urged consumers to avoid raw Mexican jalapenos and the serrano peppers often confused with them, or dishes made with them such as salsa.

But the big question is how hot pepper lovers would know where the peppers came from, especially in restaurant food.

"You're going to have to ask the person you're buying it from," said David Acheson, the FDA's food safety chief, who is advising restaurants and grocery stores to know their suppliers and inform customers.

The big break in an outbreak that has sickened nearly 1,300 people came Monday, when the FDA announced that it had found the same strain of salmonella responsible for the outbreak on a single Mexican-grown jalapeno in a south Texas produce warehouse.

Tomatoes had been the prime suspect for weeks. And while those now on the market are considered safe, they haven't been cleared of a role in the initial outbreak.

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