Salsa sales take a dip

Steve Geimer
Steve Geimer
Kristina Colombo
Kristina Colombo
Brady Burris
Brady Burris

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) -Concerns over contaminated food has taken a big bite out of some island produce.

Even though Hawaii has"not"been affected by the salmonella outbreak spreading across the mainland, as the investigation targets jalapeno peppers from Mexico, interest in those same local crops have dropped.

So the question is how is it affecting Hawaii's businesses?

Arturo's hot flavors of Hawaii has been selling salsa and hot sauces since 1981.

With tomatoes and jalapenos being key ingredients, these past few months have been a cooling period for sales.

Jalapenos grown in the United States have been taken off the list of the vegetables suspected of causing an outbreak of salmonella. Only Mexican grown jalapenos are linked to the nationwide outbreak.

Now one local salsa producer is hoping business will go back to normal.

"Ideally, people here in Hawaii will not be worried about the problems with the salsa and the jalapenos, and our sales should be coming back up in a couple weeks, we're hoping," said Arturo's General Manager Steve Grimer.

Arturo's distributes five salsas and 16 hot sauces to local markets. In just a couple of months sales haven't been so hot.

"Our sales for fresh salsa since the jalapeno and people mentioning fresh salsa in the news reports has hurt our sales about 10-15 percent," Grimer said.

He made it clear Arturo's salsa contains no contaminated jalapenos.

"For quality and food safety we used a pasteurized kind that are already pre-cooked and pre-diced," he said.

For some jalapeno lovers the threat of a salmonella is not enough to keep them from enjoying their favorite snack, but they'll do so with caution.

"I'm still going to probably buy salsa and eat some jalapenos and just ask questions before I buy stuff,"said jalapeno lover, Kristina Colombo.

"I have a pretty tolerant stomach, and not much affects me so I'm not really to worried about it," said fellow jalapeno lover Brady Barris.

The salmonella outbreak has sickened about 1300 people in the United States, so far there have been no cases reported in Hawaii.

In light of this salmonella outbreak, Steve Grimer says he hopes other food manufacturers in Hawaii take responsibility in making sure the products they put out are properly treated before they hit the market.

Grimer says his profits have dropped 15 percent in the past month.