updated 7/18/2008 12:41:25 PM ET 2008-07-18T16:41:25

State officials announced a recall of fresh jalapeno peppers and avocados distributed in North Carolina after samples from a food distributor tested positive for salmonella.

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The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on Thursday said in a statement that it asked a Charlotte food distributor to recall the items it received from a Texas food supply company because of possible salmonella contamination.

The Texas supplier also has been asked to recall the specific products distributed in North Carolina.

Agriculture department spokesman Brian Long identified the Charlotte firm as El Campo Produce Inc. Long said it distributed to about 100 restaurants and a few small markets around the state in 25 counties.

The telephone at El Campo wasn't answered Thursday night.

"They have been very cooperative in this whole thing," Long said. "They have sold products to other food establishments around the state and what we're trying to determine is whether the firm out of Texas has worked with other restaurants or distributors directly in North Carolina."

The statement said:

"The HASS avocados were shipped from Texas in boxes labeled `Frutas Finas de Tancitaro HASS Avocados, Produce of Mexico,' 60 count with lot number HUE08160090889.

"The jalapenos were shipped in black plastic crates weighing about 15 pounds and containing no brand name or other label."

The Food and Drug Protection Division and the state Division of Environmental Health are working to determine how many North Carolina outlets received the produce.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler emphasized in the statement that locally grown produce is not involved and that North Carolina produce may be consumed with proper handling.

Officials said there's no immediate sign that the contamination matches the salmonella strain that has sickened 23 people in North Carolina and more than 1,200 people nationwide.

One week ago, health investigators converged on a Charlotte-area restaurant suspected of being a source of multiple salmonella illnesses. State food protection experts took 42 samples from the restaurant, including a variety of vegetables, fruits and spices.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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