Hot peppers tested for pathogens by the Food and Drug Administration in an ongoing sampling program showed a higher incidence of salmonella than a similar sample size of cucumbers.
The FDA reported the results of its sampling program on its website.
Through Oct. 1, the FDA has tested 1,050 cucumber samples and 1,130 hot pepper samples. The sampling revealed:
  • Of cucumber samples, 15 tested positive for salmonella while the rest tested negative for all of the targeted pathogens;
  • Of hot pepper samples, 35 tested positive for salmonella, and one tested positive for a strain of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli that was determined to be incapable of causing severe illness, while the rest tested negative for all of the targeted pathogens.
“This testing is still underway and no conclusions can be drawn at this time,” according to the FDA.
In 2014, the FDA started a sampling program for a variety of commodities to learn more about the prevalence of disease-causing bacteria on the commodities.
The microbiological sampling assignments were designed to collect a statistically determined number of samples of certain commodities over 12 to 18 months and test them for certain types of bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.
Cucumbers and hot peppers were selected for sampling because those commodities have previously been associated with large-scale outbreaks. The agency is in the process of collecting and testing about 1,600 samples of each commodity for salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, according to the release. The hot peppers also are being tested for Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, according to the FDA.