Consumer Law

FDA IDs Likely Source of Recent Salmonella Outbreak

Officials believe they have identified the source of a Salmonella strain that sickened some 1,300 people in the U.S. and Canada in recent months.

A positive identification has been made between the Salmonella saintpaul that caused the outbreak and irrigation water on a Mexican farm, according to testimony before Congress today by a Food and Drug Administration administrator. The information from Dr. David Acheson, a top FDA food safety official, was reported by a Washington Post columnist as breaking news.

The agency is now advising consumers to avoid Serrano peppers grown in Mexico, reports USA Today, which includes a photo of the offending vegetable.

A previous FDA warning about raw tomatoes–which have since been declared safe to eat–reportedly hit growers with some $100 million in losses.

The outbreak has exposed flaws in the nation’s food safety oversight, although a global electronic food-tracking system is in the works, a recent Wall Street Journal article notes.

Meanwhile, better identification of the source of problem food also makes it easier to bring lawsuits over food-borne illnesses, Fred Pritzker, a Minneapolis lawyer who specializes in such litigation, says in a article.

Additional coverage:

Marler Blog: “Marler Clark Client Helps Crack Salmonella Saintpaul Jalapeno Case”

Washington Post: “FDA Officials Narrow Salmonella Warning To Mexican Peppers” “Bioterrorism Rule Ineffective in Salmonella Outbreak”

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