Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chef Debbie Talks about Salmonella

Jalapeno Madness????
FDA: Don't Eat Fresh Jalapenos!

Most of us associate salmonella with raw chicken, and many other farm animals naturally carry salmonella, as well. The problem for us is that sometimes people handling fresh meat and dairy, or who have been sick with salmonellosis can transfer this bacterium to fresh produce. If we eat that contaminated produce without cooking it, then we get sick, too.

This morning the FDA announced that it has found an example of the bacteria responsible for the latest infections on one of the thousands of pieces of produce it has tested and issued a warning to the general public not to eat fresh jalapeno peppers.

Now, I love jalapenos. LOVE them! The recipe I posted yesterday for Summer Rice & Mango Salad used jalapenos. I slide them into scrambled eggs in the morning, braise them with beef and pork, stuff them into chicken breasts and yes, I even eat them raw in a hundred different versions of salsa.

Am I going to stop using jalapenos? No, and you don't have to either if you cook them first by sauteing (as in my summer salad recipe from yesterday) or if they are cooked in a dish (such as my braised beef). If you are a healthy person and see that the risk of contamination is minimal, then it's up to you to decide whether to eat raw jalapenos. For extra precaution, wash your fresh jalapenos in water with a small amount of dish detergent or use vegetable sanitizing spray.

If you want more information about Salmonella or Salmonellosis, visit this FDA FAQ site.

If you are a jalapeno fan, too, enjoy Jalapeno Madness and let me know what YOUR favorite jalapeno recipe is!

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