Tuesday, July 29, 2008
FDA: U.S.-grown peppers not to blame for salmonella
Source of Article: http://www.bradenton.com/local/story/768178.html
The federal investigation of the
salmonella outbreak has narrowed further after the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration announced that jalapeņo and Serrano peppers grown in the
After reviewing traceback
and traceforward information and comparing harvesting
times with the people who became ill, the FDA has determined that the
salmonella-tainted jalapeņo pepper found at a distribution center in
The company, Agricola Zarigosa Inc., of
Until further notice, consumers are
advised to avoid eating foods that contain raw jalapeņo peppers if they have
been grown, harvested or packed in
Since April, almost 1,300 people in 43 states have been infected with the Saintpaul strain. About 240 people have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Initially blamed for what has been identified as the largest outbreak of food-borne illness in the last decade, the tomato industry this week plans to explain to Congress the damage caused by the investigation and introduce ways federal agencies can work with industry leaders in the future to quickly resolve outbreaks.
A federal bill to compensate tomato growers and packers who were unable to sell their crops as a result of the FDA advisory linking tomatoes to salmonella has been directed to the secretary of agriculture.
Introduced by Rep. Tim Mahoney,
Compensation to growers and packers is warranted after the FDA collected about 1,700 samples of tomatoes, which all tested negative for the Saintpaul strain, said Reggie Brown of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange.
"It's created concern in the public mind when it should never should have," he said. "We're looking forward to the consumers eating tomatoes as soon as we can get them back on the shelves."
Officials say that what's unfortunate
The "dark cloud" hanging over the tomato industry would more easily dissipate if the FDA would clear tomatoes for good, said Liz Compton, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture.
Commissioner Charles Bronson, who recognizes the impact of the investigation on the industry, is also expected to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week to give the state's perspective of the outbreak and how the state's resource could have been better used to collaborate with federal officials to resolve the problem.
"Still, they have yet to say that
tomatoes were never the problem,"
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