The salmonella strain linked to a nationwide outbreak has been found in irrigation water and a serrano pepper at a Mexican farm, federal health officials said today. The FDA's food safety chief called the finding a key breakthrough in the case, as did another health official. "We have a smoking gun, it appears," said a CDC director.
The FDA official, Dr. David Acheson, said the farm is in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Previously, the FDA had traced a contaminated jalapeno pepper to a farm in another part of Mexico, the AP reports. Acheson and other officials were grilled at a congressional hearing about why the investigation originally focused on tomatoes. The outbreak has sickened more than 1,300 people since April. (Read more salmonella stories.)