Health Warning About Your Favorite Dips

CDC: Salsa, guacamole growing causes of foodborne disease

For those who thought double dipping was the worst thing that could happen to a bowl of salsa, the Centers for Disease Control is warning that salsa and guacamole have become breeding grounds for food-borne illnesses.

Studies showed one out of every 25 food-borne illness outbreaks in restaurants between 1998 and 2008 were traced to contaminated salsa or guacamole.  That's more than double the rate of the previous decade. 


"Salsa and guacamole often contain diced raw produce including hot peppers, tomatoes and cilantro, each of which has been implicated in past outbreaks," researcher Magdalena Kendall said.

Also, restaurants often make those dips in large batches so even a small amount of contamination can affect many people.

They expect new efforts to educate restaurant workers about proper hand-washing and proper food refrigeration.

The CDC said safer preparation and storage will lower the risks.

"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 illnesses," Kendall added.

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