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

July 30, 2008 -- The FDA today warned against eating raw Mexican serrano peppers, raw Mexican jalapeno peppers, and any foods that contain them because of an ongoing salmonella outbreak.

The FDA issued that advice today after finding Salmonella saintpaul, the salmonella outbreak strain that has sickened at least 1,307 people since April, on a serrano pepper and in the irrigation water of a farm in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

Earlier this month, the FDA found a jalapeno pepper -- grown in Mexico and sent to a distribution center in McAllen, Texas -- that was tainted with Salmonella saintpaul. It's not clear if that pepper got contaminated on the farm or futher down the food supply chain.

Jalapeno and serrano peppers grown in the U.S. are fine to eat, according to the FDA.

Tomatoes, the first suspect in the salmonella outbreak, are also safe. FDA and CDC officials haven't backed off their early suspicions of tomatoes, and they haven't ruled out the possibility that the salmonella strain may have started in tomatoes and moved to peppers.

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