Starting Monday, health inspectors will halt and check the shipment of ingredients common to Mexican cuisine from Mexico to the United States, sources familiar with the salmonella poisoning investigation said.
The inquiry, which initially focused solely on tomatoes, has expanded to include cilantro, jalapeņo peppers, Serrano peppers, scallions and bulb onions, said Tommy Thompson, former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, who said he has been informed of the plan.
Thompson said the plan involves intercepting food samples at the border and sending them to laboratories to examine them for possible salmonella or E. coli.
A former director of the Food and Drug Administration's import operations said the expanded search raises a number of questions.
"Where's the contaminated product?" asked Carl Nielsen. "How would you know? And where along the supply chain did it happen? Was it at the retail level? Is somebody doing something to expose the product at the retailer? Is it at the wholesale? Is it at the grower? Is it at the processor? Is it in transport? Where is it? They don't know." Read full article »
CNN's Louise Schiavone contributed to this story