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Add Peppers to That Tomato Equation
The hunt for the source in the salmonella outbreak continues on. But in the midst of the now more than 1,000 people who have fallen ill, health officials are saying that tomatoes, the original culprit, may not be the source of the problem.
Instead of closing in on the suspect, investigators are now looking into a whole recipe—salsa. That's right, the list of offenders has now widened to jalapeno peppers, cilantro, oh, and don’t forget the trusty tomatoes.
The fact that inspectors are seven weeks into their search makes the new information even more frustrating, considering that this has become the nation's biggest foodborne outbreak in at least a decade. The next problem? People who have been struck with the illness are having a tough time remembering exactly what contaminated food they may have eaten—it could have been guacamole, salsa, a garnish or all of the above.
People are falling ill at a rate of about 25 to 40 cases per day. Check out the other side of the story and you will find that the tomato industry is suffering, too. They estimate they have lost about $100 million.
Things do appear to be looking up. Sick people are beginning to show up in groups as opposed to earlier, when reports of illness were only from individuals. Studies of cases from June show that people are likely to have eaten raw tomatoes, raw jalapeno peppers or fresh cilantro.
As for the rest of us, it looks like we'll have to continue to wait for an answer. [MSNBC]