New Causes of Salmonella?

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND--Sal Garcia with the Midland Health Department says, until there is a definite link between jalapeños, cilantro, and salmonella, there's not much he can do.  It's basically up to the consumer whether to eat the product or not.

But one Midland restaurant owner says, they take all the necessary precautions they can, not just to keep their customers happy, but safe as well.

According to Jerry Morales, owner and operator of Gerardo's Casita, "We have not received any information from the Health Department locally or the F-D-A, stating that we should not be serving it, so, we have continued serving it at this time."

Once tomatoes were cleared as the source for a salmonella outbreak, Morales didn't think he had anything else to worry about. 

Now that the attention is turning to jalapeños and cilantro, he says that's not the case, "At this point now, we're going to start getting concerned and we hope that we can start getting some information, again, from the Health Department.  But those are key ingredients, being in the Mexican restaurant business and I am sure they are key ingredients to a lot of operators in the restaurant business."

Sal Garcia tells NewsWest 9, until they get concrete links from the F-D-A or the C-D-C, there is not much he or his department can do, "That's where the real frustration part is because people look to us to give them guidance and answers, and we don't have them.  If the government doesn't have them, I'm not going to have them."

Morales says he and his staff take every precaution to make sure his customers have a good experience at his restaurant, starting with the product and where it comes from, "We use a reliable food source.  Our national food provider brings our product and he insures us they do their quality checks.  So they have their safety inspections in place."

Until there is a definite connection and products are recalled or pulled off shelves, health officials say it's up to you, the consumer, whether or not you buy and eat them.

"At this particular time, things haven't changed.  There's no recall on any jalapeños or cilantro.  There's a warning.  There's not even a recall on tomatoes, there's still a warning.  It's a choice that our citizens have to make and be mindful of the choices they make," Garcia said.

Symptoms of salmonella appear 12 - 72 hours after eating the contaminated food.  Health officials say the only way to determine is if you have contracted Salmonella is through an examination with your Doctor.