FDA Salmonella Probe Switches to Jalapenos

Investigators eying other salsa ingredients for source of outbreak
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2008 5:37 AM CDT
"To blame salsa brings nothing to the table," complained a Texas restaurant executive. "Until you can define which ingredient is the culprit, I don't think you can blame salsa and condemn it."   ((c) °Florian)
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(Newser) – Jalapeno peppers have pushed tomatoes off the top of the FDA's suspect list in the recent salmonella outbreak, reports the Wall Street Journal. Investigators believe salsa may be the culprit in the rash of illnesses, and after a drop in tomato consumption failed to halt a rise in cases, they switched focus to other ingredients—especially peppers. The agency says tomatoes aren't in the clear yet, but the hunt is on for tainted jalapenos.

The investigation is focused on fresh salsa prepared at  restaurants, rather than processed and canned salsa; the restaurants haven't been named, but the agency says most are not affiliated with chains.