When you hear the words Cilantro, Serrano peppers, Jalapenos, salsa and pica de gallo do you think of Mexican food ingredients or do you think salmonella dangers?
A record outbreak of Salmonella cases, has the Food and Drug Administration refocusing its efforts on some of these ingredients. Now a salsa scare is coming under the microscope.
"We were warned by our distributors that this was all coming," Los Nortenos Owner Julian Cedillo said.
Cedillo says for nearly three weeks the popular Mexican restaurant served some of its classic dishes with one thing missing, the tomatoes.
"One of the reasons why we don't worry about any contamination from that is it's always hot and cooked," Cedillo said.
But with the most recent probe into salsa, Cedillo says he's never had any real concern.
"The salsa we make comes from the whole-peel tomatoes and so all of that is cooked in here," Cedillo said. "So we're watching it close but so far, so good."
Good is exactly what customers say about the salsa.
So despite the salmonella scare, customers are still chomping down.
"I like salsa going on some of the tacos I get here, and stuff like that. It puts more flavor into it," Los Nortenos Patron Jose Chavaz said.
The same is true at Casa Rodriguez, where hundreds of chips are packing drawers full, and dozens of salsa filled cups are still the hot item on the menu.
"We just eat, and go with the flo," Casa Rodriguez Patron Michelle McMillian said.
Management at the restaurant says there is no reason for customers to not continue eating the tasty treat. That's because they say the tomatoes in their salsa come from a can that was packaged long before the salmonella hype.
Which is good enough for some regular patrons.
"We do have I believe one of the safest food supplies in the world so it doesn't concern me, and some of it's just over-reaction," Patron Jeff Gage said.
As for other popular items like guacamole the management at the restaurants say they're taking extra time washing the vegetables that come in, as well as keeping close contact with their distributors to make sure they're coming from approved regions.
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