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Mexican Peppers ID'd as Salmonella Culprits
Date:7/26/2008

the outbreak. On Monday, we didn't know exactly where they all were coming from. Today, we're certain these are coming from Mexico."

In its announcement Friday, the agency explained: "The collective review of the current traceback investigation and harvesting dates, matched with the dates that people became ill, have combined to indicate that the contaminated jalapeno pepper originated in Mexico."

It added, "Additional traceback and traceforward information obtained this week has led to the determination that the Agricola Zarigosa produce-distribution center in McAllen, Texas -- from where FDA took the positive jalapeno pepper sample -- was not the original source of the contamination."

Acheson said that FDA inspectors were on site at the Mexican farm where the tainted pepper came from.

Raw jalapeno peppers are often used in the preparation of salsa, pico de gallo and other dishes.

When the outbreak began in April, early signs pointed to raw tomatoes -- particularly raw round, red tomatoes, plum or Roma tomatoes -- as the likely source of contamination. But the FDA lifted its warning on tomatoes last week because it was highly unlikely that any tomatoes that were on the market at the start of the outbreak remain on the market.

According to the CDC, people stricken during the outbreak have ranged in age from under 1 to 99 years old, and 50 percent are female. The rate of illness has been highest among those 20 to 29 years old; it is lowest among adolescents 10 to 19 years old and people over 80.

According to the CDC's latest count as of July 25, the breakdown by state of ill people shows: Alabama (3), Arkansas (19), Arizona (56), California (9), Colorado (16), Connecticut (5), Florida (3), Georgia (40), Idaho (6), Illinois (115), Indiana (20), Iowa (2), Kansas (20), Kentucky (2), Louisiana (2), Maine (1), Maryland (37), Massachusetts (29), Michigan (25), Minnesota (22), Mississippi (2), Missouri (
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