Earlier this month, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released a brief analysis of food borne illnesses that highlighted the increase in illnesses caused by salsa and guacamole. The Jefferson County Health Department has long contended that salsa is something you should be careful in preparing because it is an acidified food that is often made and stored incorrectly. It would seem that the numbers agree because the number of outbreaks related to salsa and guacamole more than doubled when comparing the incidences from 1998-2008 to those that occurred from 1984-1997.
Most of the outbreaks were related to restaurants and delis, and the article sites improper storage as a culprit. It also explains that salsa and guacamole are often made in large batches, and even a small amount of contamination can lead to a serious outbreak. (My guess is that the number of restaurants serving salsa and guacamole has also increased as the our nation's demographics change, and that probably contributed to the jump as well.)
At any rate, we don't want to discourage you from eating up yummy salsa and guacamole but instead wanted to remind you that you won't see any home canned salsa or guacamole at the market because of the potential risks. To see the full article from the CDC, click here.