Local restaurants battle salmonella scare

Lawton_There are over a thousand reported cases of salmonella in the U.S. since April. The Centers for Disease Control reports 25 in Oklahoma, and 456 in Texas.

Officials link some of the illnesses to raw tomatoes and jalapenos--as well as fresh cilantro and serrano peppers--key ingredients in salsa. Local mexican restaurants are aware of the concerns, and say they're doing their part to keep the food safe.

Los Tres Amigos Mexican Restaurant says their safety starts by using domestic produce, grown in California and Texas. The next step is getting that food clean.  "Before we use our vegetables, our tomatoes, our peppers, everything, we always wash them with hot water and soap," said restaurant manager Angelica Evans.   "Before we make our salsas, our tomatoes are always boiled for at least an hour."

Health officials say cooking peppers is the best way to avoid getting sick and urge consumers to be aware of where raw tomatoes come from. So far there are no recalls, but Salas Mexican Restaurant owner Julia Salas is paying close attention to the FDA's alerts.  "A few people(customers) are concerned about it and all we've tried to do is educate my managers and my staff so we can give good answers, and if anyone is concerned about it, let us know, and we'll do what we have to do to take care of it," Salas said.