The pepper was purchased at a Wal-Mart store in Montezuma County on June 24th by a victim of the multi-state Salmonella outbreak, who began to experience symptoms of salmonellosis on July 4th.
This second isolation of Salmonella Saintpaul from a jalapeño pepper – the first definitively tied to a victim of the outbreak – will be a major boost to FDA's attempts to find the source of the contaminant.
I hope that FDA hasn't cast aside the original New Mexico case control studies that pointed to Mexican tomatoes. The state's health department determined that there appeared to be a correlation between Salmonella Saintpaul illnesses and tomatoes purchased from Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Basha's food markets. Wal-Mart's tomatoes originated in Florida and Mexico; Lowe's and Basha's purchased their tomatoes exclusively from Mexico.
There are now three separate directional arrows, all of which should be pointing to a common source for FDA to follow in its investigations:
- The New Mexico case control study pointing to tomatoes from Mexico
- The finding by FDA of a Salmonella Saintpaul-contaminated jalapeño pepper imported from Mexico by a McAllen, TX importer/distributor
- The detection of Salmonella Saintpaul in a jalapeño pepper purchased from Wal-Mart by an outbreak victim in Colorado.