Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Watch Out for the Hot Stuff

In case you missed it: After having totally trashed the tomato farming industry, causing a loss estimated at more than $250 million in destroyed crops, Bush's semi-retarded, criminally slow FDA has finally found traces of salmonella on a jalapeno pepper. That's right, A pepper. Uno jalapeno.

It still hasn't found the source of the salmonella pepper, so the FDA is now trashing the entire jalapeno farming industry with a blanket warning. I guess we should pay attention to it, but geeze, ain't there a better way? Like giving FDA and an actual budget and staff? Having real standards for marketed produce? At the rate things are going, we should have an FDA roughly the size of the Pentagon. We could call the agents the Green Berets. Oh. Sorry.

Excerpt from the Tampa, FL press:

A wide-reaching inquiry into the country's largest-ever outbreak of salmonella poisoning has homed in on a single, Mexican-grown jalapeno pepper that was processed by a small Texas distributor.

After coming up empty-handed when they targeted tomatoes, federal health inspectors say that the lone pepper has tested positive for the strain of salmonella that has infected more than 1,250 people since April.

After the contamination was discovered, the Food and Drug Administration on Monday warned consumers against eating any fresh jalapenos while its investigation continues.

The wholesaler that processed the contaminated pepper, Agricola Zaragoza in McAllen, Texas, has recalled all its pepper shipments as a result of the FDA's findings. And restaurants, grocery stores and other food services have been notified of the FDA's stepped-up warning against the fresh peppers as well as fresh salsa or sauces that use jalapenos as ingredients.

Apparently cooked, pickled, and "processed" jalapenos are OK, whatever "processed" might mean. If you like jalapenos. I don't see the point, myself. I much prefer Hatch chiles, which have heat and flavor.