Public Health Departments in Linn and Johnson counties in Iowa have warned the public not to  eat guacamole, salsa or uncooked tamales prepared by an area Mexican restaurant called La Reyna Supermarket and Taqueria, and served at area farmer’s markets.  The products may be contaminated by Salmonella, and are suspected to be associated with approximately 28 recent cases of Salmonellosis. 

The products were sold at farmer’s markets in Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, as well as the Waterfront Drive Hy-Vee, New Pioneer Co-op in Iowa City and Coralville and the Iowa City Jazz Festival.

According to the health departments’ release, the salmonella investigation was initiated by Linn County Public Health and illnesses were traced to the products made by La Reyna. In working with the Johnson County Department of Public Health, officials determined La Reyna’s products could be the source of the illness.

Ironic timing for the La Reyna outbreak, given that the CDC very recently announced a study that found that nearly one out of every 25 restaurant-related outbreaks that occurred between 1998 and 2008 was traced back to salsa or guacamole. The CDC also found that there were no salsa or guacamole-linked outbreaks reported before 1984. The CDC reported that:

*  Out of 136 salsa or guacamole outbreaks, 84% occurred in restaurants and delis.

*  Salsa and guacamole outbreaks accounted for 1.5% of all food establishment outbreaks between 1984 and 1987; that figured jumped to 3.9% between 1998 and 2008.

*  Poor storage, such as temperature, were reported in nearly one third of the salsa and guacamole outbreaks.

*  Food workers were the source of contamination in 20% of the restaurant outbreaks.