A Texas company has issued a jalapeno recall after discovering that their jalapenos are contaminated with Salmonella Saintpaul. This is the same strain of bacteria that has been linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak, which has sickened over 1,200 people.
Agricola Zaragoza Inc., of McAllen, Texas, issued a recall for jalapeno peppers distributed to customers in Georgia and Texas since June 30, 2008. On July 21, a single Mexican-grown jalapeno pepper at the company’s distribution plant was found to be contaminated with the Salmonella Saintpaul strain of bacteria. It is not known whether the contamination occurred on the farm in Mexico, at the plant in Texas or in transit. The jalapeno peppers were shipped in 50lb. bags and 35lb. plastic crates with no label or brand name.
“It is unknown at this time which, if any, of the more than 1,200 illnesses reported to date are related to this particular product or to the grower who supplied the product,” said Agricola Zaragoza Inc. in a press release issued to announce the jalapeno recall. “Distribution of these products has been suspended while the FDA, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the company continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.”
Another recall involving jalapeno peppers was also issued yesterday due to salmonella contamination, but the FDA indicates it did not involve the Salmonella Saintpaul strain of the bacteria. Grande Produce Ltd. Co., Hidalgo, Texas, recalled serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers and avacado distributed between May 17, 2008 and July 17, 2008 to several states in the U.S. They were shipped in 35lb. plastic crates with no label or brand name. Sampling by officials of the North Carolina and Texas Health Services discovered the contamination late last week.
The Salmonella outbreak which has caused food poisoning throughout the United States, was initially blamed on raw tomatoes. The investigation into the cause of the food poisoning has yielded many conflicting reports and confusing information for consumers. Last week the FDA issued a statement that tomatoes are free from salmonella contamination, but health officials urged consumers not to eat fresh jalapenos or fresh salsa made from them.
Food poisoning caused by salmonella bacteria often results in abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases salmonella can enter the bloodstream, producing more severe illnesses such as infected aneurysms, endocarditis and arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 229 people required hospital treatment as a result of food poisoning caused by the Salmonella Saintpaul strain of the bacteria. Two elderly men died while infected with the strain, though the cause of death has not been directly linked to the food poisoning.