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FDA adds Mexican serranos to salmonella warning

WASHINGTON The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said consumers should avoid eating raw serrano peppers from Mexico after a sample tested positive for the rare Saintpaul strain of salmonella. The FDA's warning also includes raw jalapenos from Mexico.

The FDA said Wednesday that samples of serrano pepper and irrigation water from a farm in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, were both contaminated with the same strain of salmonella that has sickened more than 1,300 people since April.

The agency's investigation into the outbreak, which initially implicated three varieties of tomatoes as suspects, has traced back the contamination to a packing facility and at least two farms in Mexico.

The FDA said that jalapenos and serranos grown in the United States are safe to eat.

Also this week, the FDA warned consumers not to eat the tomalley found in American lobster because it might contain dangerous amounts of toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP.

Tomalley, the soft, green substance found inside the lobster's head, operates as the liver and pancreas and tends to store PSP toxins, which are not eliminated by cooking. But even when high levels of PSP are found in the tomalley, studies have shown that the lobster meat itself remains safe to eat.

American lobster -- also known as Maine lobster -- is harvested from the Atlantic Ocean running from northeastern Canada to South Carolina.

The FDA said that PSP toxins occur occasionally in shellfish and are monitored by state regulatory authorities. The current hike in PSP toxins is connected to an ongoing red tide in northern New England and eastern Canada, the FDA said.

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