The Checkout

Raw Mexican Jalapeno and Serrano Peppers are Safe to Eat Again

Annys Shin

So the salmonella saintpaul outbreak of 2008 is over.

That is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration just got done telling reporters.

Because the illnesses have tapered off and because potentially contaminated jalapeno and serrano peppers are no longer in circulation in U.S. markets, FDA also lifted its warning against raw Mexican jalapeno and serrano peppers.

It was a bit of an anticlimactic ending to the biggest salmonella outbreak in a decade.
No wild pigs to blame--yet.

The FDA's field investigation in Mexico is over but the agency is still analyzing what it collected.

For now, FDA has no more answers than it had a few weeks ago when it said it had found the outbreak strain in irrigation water and in serrano peppers on a farm in Mexico.

One mystery that remains unsolved is whether tomatoes were ever responsible for illness. CDC's Robert Tauxe reiterated that tomatoes may have caused illness in the early days of the outbreak. But he admitted that the only evidence they have to support that is based on interviews with patients who got sick in May, in contrast to jalapeno and serrano peppers where they confirmed the bacteria's presence in a lab.

As of Aug. 20, the tally was 1,434 people sickened in the U.S. and Canada. At least 273 were hospitalized and two people died.

Tomato growers lost more than $100 million when their produce came under suspicion. Jalapeno and serrano pepper industry losses are unknown.

Will you eat raw jalapenos again? What do boiled jalapenos taste like anyway?

By Annys Shin |  August 28, 2008; 1:01 PM ET Annys Shin
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No mention of the CPSC's warning on Simplicity bassinettes yesterday? Given how rare it is for the CPSC to issue a warning for a project that a manufacterer refuses to recall, you would think this might be news. Perhaps things are changing there?

Posted by: RT | August 28, 2008 2:34 PM

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