Friday, April 3, 2009

Asian white pepper alert

Your white pepper is probably safe. But if you have any ground white pepper packaged under the Lian How or Uncle Chen brands, throw it out. The spice, imported from Vietnam, is contaminated with salmonella and has sickened a number of people on the West Coast.

Wondering how a spice could pick up salmonella? Food science writer Harold McGee had an excellent post here on the processing of white pepper and how it can pick up off-flavors. It didn't mention bacterial contamination, but you easily can see how it might happen.

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