Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where are those 'maters from?

From WebMD:

The FDA has broadened its list of tomatoes to avoid because of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 145 people in 16 states since the middle of April.

The FDA and CDC first warned last week of dozens of people in nine states who had gotten sick after eating certain types of raw, red tomatoes.

Not all tomatoes are on the FDA's warning list. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, and home-grown tomatoes haven't been linked to the outbreak, according to the FDA.

Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Serious and potentially fatal cases are more likely in young children, frail or elderly people, and people with weak immune systems.

No deaths have been reported in the salmonella tomato outbreak. However, 23 people have been hospitalized with Salmonella Saintpaul, the uncommon type of salmonella at the root of the outbreak.

Salmonella Saintpaul cases have been reported in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

FDA's Tomato Recommendations

Because of the salmonella outbreak, the FDA advises consumers not to eat raw red Roma, raw red plum, and raw red round tomatoes, or products containing those types of tomatoes, unless the tomatoes are safe from the following places, which have not been linked to the outbreak:
North Carolina
South Carolina
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico

Not sure where your tomatoes came from? The FDA suggests calling the store where you bought them for that information. The tomato warnings also apply to restaurants.

When outbreaks aren't under way, the FDA recommends washing whole, fresh produce before eating it. But during an outbreak, the stakes are too high. Washing tomatoes probably won't get rid of the contamination, so the FDA urges consumers to simply avoid eating the suspect tomatoes.