NEW YORK—Your tongue won’t be the only bodily organ thanking you for taking a break from jalapenos anymore. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on July 21 that jalapeno peppers became a new culprit in the recent Salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 1,200 people in 43 states and Washington, D.C.
The strain of Salmonella saintpaul was found in jalapeno peppers and serrano peppers, which are very similar to jalapenos, at a McAllen, Texas plant that processes peppers grown in Mexico. The FDA and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have said that they still do not know the magnitude of the distribution of the Mexican-originating peppers.
The news that jalapenos are responsible for part of the Salmonella outbreak comes after the FDA previously blamed tomatoes and cilantro for the epidemic. An FDA warning on tomatoes was lifted recently because any tomatoes that were contaminated with Salmonella during the caution period would have been discarded or rotted by now.
According to the CDC, a recent widespread investigation into the Salmonella outbreak revealed that those that fell ill were likely to have eaten raw tomatoes along with fresh jalapeno peppers. However, according to food safety experts, it is hard to determine the exact cause of illness since people tend to forget what they have eaten.
Every year, the CDC reports 40,000 cases of Salmonella and about 400 people die. The FDA advises that in order to adapt to the recent reports of Salmonella in jalapenos, no one should eat raw or undercooked jalapenos or serrano peppers.