Posted on 10 March 2010 by

Battling Salmonella in Tomatoes

roma-tomato.JPGBy Vanessa Richins

Last summer, headlines everywhere blazed about a salmonella scare that was supposedly connected to tomatoes.

Many stores and restaurants stopped carrying our favorite fruit for a while, severely hurting the tomato industry.

As Michelle Fabio pointed out here last year, ” a report from the University of Georgia estimates that the salmonella scare of this past summer cost Georgia’s economy approximately $25.7 million–and that is just one state.”

Later, the FDA changed their position and said the outbreak was actually caused by jalapeño peppers.

However, this doesn’t mean that tomatoes are immune to salmonella. There are several ways that tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables can become infected, according to Lifespan. If they are irrigated with water that harbors Salmonella, that could affect the tomatoes. Washing your hands before preparing food is important, or you could potentially pass on Salmonella (as well as other bacteria). It is also a good practice to have separate cutting boards for your meats and produce.

New research offers hope, though. Scientists have found a possible solution that may potentially battle salmonella and make our tomatoes safer to eat.

The Minneapolis – St. Paul Star Tribune states “Working in a College Park, Md., laboratory, Brown and a team of FDA scientists trying to prevent salmonella contamination in tomatoes have stumbled upon what they believe are powerful, naturally occurring “good” bacteria that can slaughter the “bad” bacteria that have become a persistent problem in fresh fruits and vegetables because they harm humans.”

I think this is fabulous news. Let’s hope it’s true and they can study ways to harness these good bacteria for our safety!

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