I wanted to update you with the latest information from the FDA, CDC-and even provide additional information from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services-in reference to the ongoing investigation of the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak. After almost three months since the first cases of Salmonella Saintpaul were identified and six weeks after the FDA issued a warning against consuming certain types of tomatoes, FDA issued a statement late yesterday lifting the warning in reference to tomatoes. FDA's statement, in part, states:
After a lengthy investigation, the FDA has determined that fresh tomatoes now available in the domestic market are not associated with the current outbreak. As a result, the agency is removing its June 7 warning against eating certain types of red raw tomatoes. FDA further went on to state that there is "evidence showing that raw jalapeño and raw serrano peppers, now available in the domestic market, may be linked to illness in this outbreak" and are warning immunocompromised individuals, the elderly and infants not to eat these peppers raw.
In a related matter, the state of North Carolina issued a recall of jalapeño peppers and avocados that were distributed in North Carolina after two samples from a distributor tested positive for salmonella at a North Carolina food distributor who received these products from a Texas food supply company. The Hass avocados were shipped from Texas in boxes labeled "Frutas Finas de Tancitaro HASS Avocados, Produce of Mexico," 60 count with lot number HUE08160090889. The jalapeños were shipped in black plastic crates weighing about 15 pounds and containing no brand name or other label.
The North Carolina press release went on to state: "There is no indication at this time that this contamination is the same Salmonella Saintpaul strain that has sickened 23 people in North Carolina and more than 1,200 people nationwide..Additional testing by the North Carolina laboratories and the [CDC] will be necessary to determine whether the salmonella matches the Salmonella Saintpaul which is causing the national outbreak." EHA will continue to keep you updated as events both transpire and impact you and your units.