Salmonella Scare Stems From More Than Just Tomatoes - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/07/08 - Tyler

Salmonella Scare Stems From More Than Just Tomatoes

Tonight the FDA is warning that tomatoes may only be the beginning of a salmonella scare. They've now set their sights on jalapenos, cilantro, and other produce.

So, what's a Mexican restaurant to do?

KLTV 7's Layron Livingston was in the kitchen today where the longer list of possible sources could mean a shorter menu to choose from.

The customers keep coming back for more, despite the warnings - which is making Sonia Ordorica's job even more interesting. Sonia manages the El Lugar resturant in Tyler.

"Basically everything the FDA is saying...that's making people sick, we're still using it."

Sonia says right now, she's in limbo.

Cilantro, jalapenos, tomatoes - signature ingredients at El Lugar - are now being looked to as possible sources behind a nationwide outbreak of salmonella.

"Jalapenos is what we make our hot sauce out of, but if they say no more jalapenos, we're going to have to use the red sauce," she explains.

As of today, the outbreak has already sickened nearly a thousand people in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The official source is still a mystery.

Until they find the culprit, Sonia says she and her staff will do whatever's needed to keep customers satisfied and safe.

"We wash them and we do a lot of cleaning on them...and that's about it," says Sonia.

"They're always saying something comes from somewhere," customer Debbie Lageman told us today. "So...if you worry about that, you're not going to eat."

So far - so good.

"I hope they find something soon about it, so they can make a stop of use of anything that's making people sick," said Sonia.

And right now, taste trumps all.

Federal officials say they are now looking to the border. The FDS says as of today, shipments of produce coming out of Mexico containing those signature ingredients will be stopped and inspected.

Layron Livingston, reporting. llivingston@kltv.com

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