Salmonella-positive serrano peppers recalled

Warren Produce, Edinburg, Texas, has voluntarily recalled 200 cartons of serrano peppers after a sample tested positive for salmonella.

serrano.pepperThe cartons were from 18 orders, but Warren Produce managing member Jimmy Henderson said none of the product is expected to make it to retail.

Henderson said the company was notified of the issue at 4:30 p.m. July 22 after the Food and Drug Administration sampled a single lot. Warren Produce recalled that lot along with two others from the same grower, although those lots did not test positive for salmonella. The recalled lots are #115181, #115158 and #115186.

By the morning of July 25, Henderson had received confirmation from 15 of the 18 destinations for the peppers that the product was pulled from the supply chain.

Henderson described the recall as “very effective.”

Language, culture and Salmonella

Amy’s a French professor so I get to hang out with a bunch of folks in Modern Languages. And she speaks French to baby Sorenne, who probably understands more than I do. I’ve taught Amy how to use a digital, tip-sensitive thermometer when cooking all kinds of meat, and she’s taught me to be more sensitive to the cultural nuances of communication.

The intersections of food safety, language and culture are ripe for study. And action. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, yesterday launched a Spanish language Food Safety at Home podcast series. That’s good. But what’s going on in Oregon is better.

There is an outbreak of Salmonella associated with white pepper that has so far sickened at least 42, including 33 in California, four in Oregon, four in Nevada and one in Washington state. Some excellent epi work led William Keene, senior epidemiologist for the Oregon state Public Health Division, and colleagues to test ground white pepper from an Asian restaurant on the east side of Portland. Sure enough, it was positive for salmonella.

According to a report in this morning’s Oregonian, the spice was imported as peppercorns from Vietnam and then ground, packaged and distributed by Union International Food to distributors and manufacturers in the West. It was packaged under the Lian How and Uncle Chen brands.

The Food and Drug Administration has printed warnings about the recall in both English and Mandarin while Oregon’s Public Health Division has added an additional Vietnamese version.

Dr. David Acheson, the FDA’s associate commissioner for foods, said,

"This issue illustrates an important area for food safety in that we are dealing with a relatively small facility. Getting the appropriate information out to small facilities who may not necessarily have English as their first language" is a challenge.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service invites consumers to subscribe to the free podcast service by visiting Once subscribed to the RSS feed, new broadcasts will be downloaded automatically to the feed reader used by the subscriber.

Salmonella Saintpaul found in irrigation water and serrano pepper at a Mexican farm

Follow the poop. And it usually leads to water. Poop in the water, which then gets on produce.

Dr. David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety chief, has just told a congressional hearing in Washington that the Salmonella Saintpaul strain that has sickened 1,307 people in 43 States and Canada has been found in irrigation water and a serrano pepper at a Mexican farm.

Acheson said the farm is in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Previously, the FDA had traced a contaminated jalapeno pepper to a farm in another part of Mexico.

Associated Press reports that if it turns out the tainted irrigation water was also used on tomatoes, it could provide some of the evidence that federal authorities are looking for to back their original focus on the fruit.