New research indicates that salsa or guacamole served in restaurants may be an important cause of food-borne diseases.
"Salsa and guacamole often contain diced raw produce including hot peppers, tomatoes and cilantro, each of which has been implicated in past outbreaks," says Magdalena Kendall, an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) researcher who collaborated on the CDC study.
In their surveillance study, the researchers found that restaurants and delis were the settings for 84 percent of the 136 SGA outbreaks.
SGA outbreaks accounted for 1.5 percent of all food establishment outbreaks from 1984 to 1997.
The outbreaks could be due to improper storage times and contamination by workers themselves.
"We want restaurants and anyone preparing fresh salsa and guacamole at home to be aware that these foods containing raw ingredients should be carefully prepared and refrigerated to help prevent illness," says Kendall.