FDA Steps Up Salmonella Screening
The FDA has intensified its checks on produce coming into the United States since the Salmonella stpaul outbreak began, and has put 17 firms on notice that they need to watch contamination of their produce.
David Acheson, the deputy FDA commissioner for food safety, told a news briefing that FDA has also ordered 14 produce recalls in recent months. He didn’t give a comparable figure from a year ago, but said the numbers were obviously higher this year. “We’ve intensified our testing of Mexican produce, and the number of positives we’re getting corresponds with that.” Acheson said that produce contaminated with salmonella had been detected at the border and withdrawn from circulation. He said it was strains other than stpaul, the cause of the outbreak that sickened at least 1,142 people and hospitalized 286 since May.
The CDC issued a study of the outbreak Thursday that concluded it was linked to jalapeno and Serrano peppers; tomatoes might also have been contaminated, it said. Early in the investigation, questionnaires linked the outbreak to tomatoes eaten by Native Americans in New Mexico. However, later investigations of some of the households indicated that many of them also had peppers, though the patients couldnít remember eating them, according to the CDC’s report.