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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

FDA Finds Salmonella Saintpaul Outbreak Strain in Irrigation Water and on Serrano Pepper on Mexican Farm

Lou Dobbs must be dancing in the streets.

Dr. Acheson of the FDA testified today to a packed Hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee that the FDA found Salmonella saintpaul, the salmonella outbreak strain that has sickened at least 1,307 people since April, on a Mexican farm. However, the CDC also reported today that:

It appears likely that more than one food vehicle is involved in this outbreak. It cannot all be entirely accounted for by a single food item. By themselves, tomatoes cannot explain the entire outbreak, nor do jalapeno peppers explain all the clusters. It appears likely that more than one food vehicle is involved. Although rare, more than one food has been implicated in foodborne outbreaks in the past.

At present, information indicates that jalapeño peppers and Serrano peppers grown harvested, or packed in Mexico are the cause of some clusters and are major food vehicles for the outbreak. Although tomatoes currently on the market are safe, raw tomatoes consumed early in the outbreak are still under investigation. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul has been isolated twice from jalapeno peppers and once from Serrano peppers.

So, it is clearly linked to Jalapenos and Serrano peppers. Tomatoes, however, remain suspect for those illnesses that occurred in the beginning of the outbreak – April, May and early June.