BUSINESS
07/13/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Salmonella Investigators Focus On Jalapenos

Investigators are seeing more signs that the salmonella outbreak blamed on tomatoes might have been caused by tainted jalapeno peppers and have begun collecting samples from restaurants and from the homes of those who have been sickened, according to health officials involved in the probe.

New interviews with those who became infected found that many had eaten jalapeno peppers, often in salsa served with Mexican food, according to two state health officials. So far, none of the jalapenos taken from restaurants and from the homes of those who became ill have tested positive for Salmonella saintpaul.

Echoing federal officials, who said this week that tomatoes remain the prime suspect, the health officials said that tomatoes cannot be ruled out as the cause of the outbreak. Investigators have been collecting samples of another possible suspect, cilantro, though the herb is less likely to be the source, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

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