Salsa, Guacamole source of foodborne illness: CDC

21:00, July 13, 2010      

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The salsa and guacamole Americans love to order in restaurants are identified as two major sources of food-borne illnesses, according to a research released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.

The two popular foods were the culprits in nearly 1 out of every 25 food-borne illness outbreaks at restaurants between 1998 and 2008, more than twice the rate of the previous decade, the CDC was quoted by the WebMD Health News as saying.

Part of the problem is if the individual ingredients in salsa and guacamole — fresh avocados, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, sometimes aren't properly stored and refrigerated, they can spoil quickly and foster bacteria, such as salmonella, the WebMD Health News reported.

Salsa and guacamole are often prepared in large batches so even a small amount of contamination can affect many customers, said Magdalena Kendall, a researcher at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Researchers warned in a CDC statement that the key to preventing future outbreaks is for people to raise Awareness that salsa and guacamole can transmit food-borne illness, particularly in restaurants.

"We want restaurants and anyone preparing fresh salsa and guacamole at home to be aware that these foods containing raw ingredients should be carefully prepared and refrigerated to help prevent illness," Kendall said.

During the spring and summer of 2008, a massive outbreak traced back to jalapeno peppers and tomatoes used in salsa sickened more than 1,400 people with salmonella.

Source: Xinhua/Agencies


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