Search for salmonella source continues - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Search for salmonella source continues

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

July 7, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The government is expanding its search into the source of the Saint Paul strain of salmonella.

Instead of tomatoes, they are now looking at other produce, in particular peppers. "We've always sold a lot of tomatoes year round and hopefully its not tomatoes," said Tommy McDowell from Tommy Mac's Produce and Country Store.

The Salmonella scare cost suppliers about 100 million dollars in loses, but local markets say it hasn't really hurt their sales. "Everyday we have customers buy tomatoes from us everyday. And we have a couple of restaurants buy tomatoes from us, and our tomato sales are about normal," said McDowell.

Though, it has raised a lot questions. "Our sales have been pretty well, but people have been asking where they come from," said produce stand operator, Tricia Berry.

The Food and Drug Administration is now looking at other produce. Investigators say jalapeno peppers could be the source, but they're also looking at other ingredients used to make salsa  like cilantro and Serrano peppers.

"Maybe they'll pinpoint it exactly and get it figured out. I don't know," said McDowell. Investigators with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to interview sick people about what they ate. And they support the FDA's move.

But whether it's tomatoes or peppers, produce suppliers hope they figure it out before anyone else gets sick, or it causes more financial loss. The number of confirmed salmonella cases has gone up to 943 in 40 states. More than 130 of those people have been hospitalized.

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