In a statement released Wednesday to the AP, Mexican agriculture officials said, "The farm unit in question ended its harvest more than a month ago, so the sample they say they have lacks scientific validity." The statement added that the sample "was taken recently from a tank holding rain water that was not used in production."
Also on Wednesday, U.S. health officials defended their focus on fresh tomatoes at a congressional hearing, saying early signs clearly implicated that produce.
Fresh tomatoes had been the suspected source of the outbreak that began in April. But three weeks ago, U.S. health officials cleared the current crop for consumers. Two weeks ago, they found the first tainted pepper, and then they narrowed the source of contamination to crops in Mexico, not the United States.
According to the CDC, the breakdown by state of ill people shows: Alabama (3), Arkansas (21), Arizona (56), California (11), Colorado (16), Connecticut (5), Florida (4), Georgia (40), Idaho (6), Illinois (116), Indiana (20), Iowa (2), Kansas (21), Kentucky (2), Louisiana (2), Maine (1), Maryland (38), Massachusetts (29), Michigan (26), Minnesota (22), Mississippi (2), Missouri (20), Montana (1), New Hampshire (5), Nevada (13), New Jersey (16), New Mexico (106), New York (39), North Carolina (28), Ohio (10), Oklahoma (25), Oregon (11), Pennsylvania (13), Rhode Island (3), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (10), Texas (502), Utah (2), Virginia (31), Vermont (2), Washington (17), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (13), and the District of Columbia (1). Five ill persons are from Canada; four appear to have been infected while traveling in the United States, and one individual remains under investigation.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea in humans.
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