andrew schneider investigates

July 17, 2008

FDA: Not so fast all you salsa eaters

Filed under: FDA,Food poisoning,Food Safety — Andrew Schneider @ 18:38

With 1,220 persons infected with salmonella saintpaul in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided to declare victory in its war against tainted tomatoes.

It’s not that they found the source of the dangerous red fruit. They haven’t. It’s not that people aren’t getting sick, they are. About 30 or 40 new cases are still being added to CDC tally sheets every day. This is about three less oer day than what was reported in June.

The disease detectives have just run out of suspect tomatoes to examine, but since the first of the month they’ve been looking at recently reported clusters of illness, and the epidemiologists are now suspicious of raw serrano and jalapeno peppers. Some investigators are peeking at cilantro. Yes, you’re correct. Put the greens together with tomatoes with their newly issued clean bill of health and you’ve got salsa.

The FDA made the announcement just a day after Western Growers, an agricultural trade association, screamed “enough.” Growers President Tom Nassif urged FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to make a strong public announcement that all tomatoes grown in the United States, regardless of variety, are safe to eat.

Meanwhile, the FDA says high-risk persons, such as infants, the elderly and people with impaired immune systems, should avoid eating the uncooked peppers.

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