National Consumers League

Hot on the Salmonella Trail


Attention pepper lovers: step away from the jalapeños.

Investigators from the Food and Drug Administration think they’ve found the true culprit in the current Salmonella outbreak, which up until now had been associated entirely with tomatoes. The FDA announced yesterday that its officials matched the strain on a single jalapeño pepper at a distributing center in McAllen, Texas.

According to the FDA, “since a recall will not immediately remove all potentially contaminated peppers from the food supply, FDA is also asking consumers to avoid eating raw jalapeño peppers or foods made from raw jalapeño apeno peppers until further notice in order to prevent additional cases of illness. This recommendation does not include cooked or pickled jalapeño peppers.”

If you simply can’t resist the spicy, at least avoid raw jalapeños, or foods prepared with jalapeños. If they are cooked or picked, they are considered safe.

The Salmonella outbreak that started in April of this year has resulted in more than 1,200 infections and 229 hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.