Salmonella finds in
By David Mitchell
Source of Article: http://thepacker.com/icms/_dtaa2/content/wrapper.asp?alink=2008-123131-718.asp&stype=topnews&fb=
(Aug. 15, 12:33 p.m.) More than a dozen
Mexican produce companies have been put on import alert by the Food and Drug
Administration since July 11 due to positive tests for salmonella.
According to the FDA Web site, 12 companies have been placed on import alert due to positive tests on hot peppers, while four companies have been put on alert because of positive tests on basil. One company is on import alert for positive tests on cilantro.
The positive tests included several types of salmonella, including at least two of the Salmonella Saintpaul strain that has led to more than 1,400 reported illnesses in 43 states,
Public health officials initially linked the outbreak to tomatoes in late May, but FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in early July that they were expanding their investigation to include other items found in fresh salsa.
FDA stepped up its sampling of tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, serrano peppers, basil and cilantro soon after.
“The vast majority of product tested was negative for salmonella, but there were scattered positives for other types in both domestic and imported product,” said FDA spokesman Sebastian Cianci on Aug. 14.
Cianci said it was not unexpected to see a spike in positive tests during a period of increased sampling.
The most recent import alert is from Aug. 12. The list of import alerts is available here.
It was unclear how many domestic companies have had positive tests. Cianci said FDA and state health agencies have been working with
FDA has had positive tests for Salmonella Saintpaul from at least three locations.
Cianci said samples of irrigation water and serrano peppers taken from grower Horticultores Unidos, Tamaulipas,
A tainted jalapeño sampled in a
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported a jalapeño pepper, which was purchased at a Wal-Mart store and provided to public health officials by an ill consumer from
Cianci said traceback in the
FDA issued a consumer advisory for fresh jalapeño and serrano peppers July 21. Four days later, the agency altered the advisory to focus on jalapenos and serranos from
Jesse Driskill, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the
“Most of the big shippers have excellent food safety and sanitary programs,” Driskill said. “Some of the smaller guys don’t. Unfortunately, the FDA lays a blanket across everyone.”
The CDC said Aug. 12 that the outbreak has led to 1,405 reported illnesses. While the most recent onset date of a reported illness was July 24, the agency cautioned that new cases still are being reported.
The outbreak, however, appears to be waning. From May 21 to June 1 an average of 38 cases per day were reported. From July 5 to July 15 the averaged dropped to three reported illnesses per day.
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