Posted on 09 June 2008 by

Salmonella Warning Goes National

By Michelle Fabio

On June 7, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it “is expanding its warning to consumers nationwide that a salmonellosis outbreak has been linked to consumption of certain raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes, and products containing these raw, red tomatoes.”

Red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes grown and harvested in the following states, territories and countries have not been associated with the outbreak and should, therefore, still be safe to eat: Arkansas, California, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, Netherlands and Puerto Rico.

The list of “safe tomatoes” is available here and will be updated as needed.

Note that other types of tomatoes, including homegrown, cherry, grape, and those sold with the vine still attached, are also still safe to eat as they haven’t been indicated in the recent spread of the rare Saintpaul strain of salmonella.

The outbreak of salmonella poisoning, which we first told you about, has now spread to 145 cases over 16 states. There have been no reported deaths but there have been 23 hospitalizations.

Read the entire FDA warning, and in the meantime, keep following those Raw Tomato Rules!

6 Responses to “Salmonella Warning Goes National”

  1. Nancy Bond Says:

    We just purchased some red plum tomatoes this weekend — I’ll be extra careful about washing them before use. Thank you for keeping up updated. One wonders, what next?

  2. Daphne Gould Says:

    Geeze, how do you get salmonella on a tomato? I understand the lettuce and spinach problems. They grow in the dirt, but all the farmers around here, stake their tomatoes since sprawling tomatoes don’t tend to look as nice (the tomatoes that is not the plants).

  3. bleeding espresso Says:

    I just happened to catch someone on TV talking about this–said that salmonella is rather widespread, but it just usually doesn’t reach the surface of tomatoes (it is commonly spread through animal feces, so even touching dirt then touching tomatoes could do it).

    Beware though: if you’re eating red plum, red Roma, or red round tomatoes from states that *haven’t* been cleared, JUST WASHING THE TOMATOES MAY NOT BE ENOUGH. This expert (I wish I remembered his name!) said that in some instances salmonella can actually get inside the tomatoes in which case washing won’t do anything.

    Be careful!

  4. Dr Craig Says:

    Salmonella on tomatoes either comes from contamination during processing or from contamination in field.

    Most of time salmonella in food comes from people who are infected or are carriers of salmonella and who do not wash hands after using the restroom.

    In the fields it comes from lack of sanitary facilities.

    Tomatoes sold on the vine without skin breaks are less likely to be infected. If you do buy the tomatoes on the vine, wash the tomatoes before removing the stem. The place where the stem attaches to the tomato easily allows salmonella to get “inside” the tomato.

    In the meantime, avoid the Roma or plum tomatoes.

  5. bleeding espresso Says:

    Thanks so much Dr Craig!

  6. Jake Says:

    salmonella is a very dangerous and deadly bacteria. foods that are contaminated with it should be disposed immediately.

Leave a Reply

Recent Comments