as a master gardener i'm sometimes privy to some great info that's passed along to me. i thought i'd share for those of you concerned about the recent tomatoe salmonella outbreak. if you can buy local tomatoes, please see below for what kinds are safe (many) and continue to support the local farmers who are growing these and probably loosing money because of people who are choosing to boycot tomatoes to be "safe". happy tomato eating season!
Salmonella Problems in Tomatoes
Gerald Brust, IPM Vegetable Specialist
June 11, 2008
Here is some recent information about the outbreak of tomatoes contaminated with Salmonella. As most are aware this outbreak is linked to the consumption of certain types of raw red tomatoes and products containing raw red tomatoes. Since mid April, there have been 167 reported cases of salmonellosis nationwide caused by Salmonella Saintpaul, an infrequent serotype of Salmonella. The numerous cases in recent weeks indicate the suspect tomatoes have been widely distributed and probably originated from the same source. Symptoms of salmonellosis, which usually appear within 12 to 72hours of eating contaminated food, include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, headaches, stomach cramps and fever.
The raw tomato types that are most inferred as the source of contamination are red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes. As of June 10, 2008 The Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers to limit their consumption of tomatoes to the following types: cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, tomatoes grown at home or tomatoes grown and harvested from the following areas that have not been linked to the outbreak: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia, Wisconsin and from certain counties in Florida. Consumers who are unsure of the source of purchased tomatoes or raw tomato products (such as salsa, guacamole or other dishes) should contact the place of purchase for the information. Although restaurants, grocery stores, and food service operators have been advised by the FDA not to offer for sale or service raw red plum, red Roma, or red round tomatoes and products made from these types of tomatoes unless they are from one of the areas listed above, most stores and restaurants are still removing all tomatoes of these types as a precaution. This is the latest information, but be aware things can and probably will change over the next few days.