Saturday, December 24, 2011


In the last few days, Salmonella bacteria seem to be making up for lost time. Or else, food testing has just got lucky and caught more cases. I won't have time to blog them all, but here are some U.S. instances from the past few days, and one from the U.K.

These cases show the variety of situations in which Salmonella can crop up. The first two - peppers and alfalfa sprouts are quite common, and have occurred previously many times. The last two - in spice and in dietary supplements - are rarer but not unheard of either, as this bacterium is very good at surviving under dry conditions, and can do so for months. There have been several large spice recalls in the U.S. over the last few years, and of course, the very recent one in celery seeds (see earlier posts).

In peppers: Cal Fresco, LLC (“Cal Fresco”) of California is recalling some 18,500 pounds of fresh JalapeƱo and Serrano chili peppers (imported from Mexico, by the way) because of contamination with Salmonella. They were shipped in cases under both the Cal Fresco (10 and 25 pound cases) and Grower Alliance (40 pound case) labels. This lot was distributed to retail stores within California, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Canada between December 3 and December 5, 2011 (I bought some, but luckily cooked them well).

In alfalfa sprouts: Green Valley Food Corp. of is recalling 650 cases of “Let’s Grow Healthy Together!” Alfalfa Sprouts 5 oz. containers, because the results showed to be contaminated with Salmonella. If you read this blog regularly you'll know that I view sprouted seeds as one of the riskiest foods you can eat (see previous posts).

In dietary supplements: Eclectic Institute, Sandy, Oregon is recalling specific lots of its freeze-dried capsules containing Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) and Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) capsules because of potential Salmonella contamination.

In dry spices: In the U.K. the Food Standards agency reports that Natco Foods Ltd. is recalling certain batches of its own ground cumin due to the presence of Salmonella bacteria.

To your good health,


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