serrano peppersWorld Variety Produce Inc. recalled 300 cases of Melissa's brand serrano chile peppers sold at Walmart stores in four states, as well as Jewel-Osco stores, because the peppers could be contaminated with salmonella, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

So far, no one has reported getting sick from eating the peppers, sold through bulk displays in stores from March 1 to Friday, March 18. The recall was prompted after a routine U.S. Department of Agriculture sampling program showed the cases contained salmonella, the FDA said.Salmonella can cause a serious and potentially life-threatening infection in young children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. Even normally healthy consumers can suffer from fever, diarrhea, nausea and stomach pain.

Included in the recall are serrano peppers with the lot number 69073901, imported from Mexico and sold at Walmart stores in Wisconsin, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. The peppers were also sold at Jewel-Osco stores in Illinois. Serrano is one of the hottest varieties of chile pepper commonly used in Latin cuisine, in dishes including guacamole and salsa. It can also be pickled, according to World Variety Produce.

World Variety Produce has stopped production and distribution of the peppers while the Los Angeles company, the FDA and the California Department of Public Health investigate what caused the contamination.

Consumers who bought the serrano peppers should return them to the store for a refund. Call World Variety Produce at (800) 588-0151 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Earlier this year another company recalled fresh cilantro sold at Walmart, Safeway and other stores because of potential salmonella contamination.

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