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6/10
2008
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FDA Warns Consumers Nationwide Not to Eat Certain Types of Raw Red Tomatoes

The Food and Drug Administration 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.
FDA recommends that consumers not eat raw red Roma, raw red plum, raw red round tomatoes, or products that contain these types of raw red tomatoes unless the tomatoes are from the sources listed below. If unsure of where tomatoes are grown or harvested, consumers are encouraged to contact the store where the tomato purchase was made. Consumers should continue to eat cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, or tomatoes grown at home.
On June 5, using traceback and other distribution pattern information, FDA published a list of states, territories, and countries where tomatoes are grown and harvested which have not been associated with this outbreak. This updated list includes: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, Netherlands, and Puerto Rico. The list is available at www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html#retailers. This list will be updated as more information becomes available.
FDA¡¯s recommendation does not apply to the following tomatoes from any source: cherry, grape, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached.
FDA recommends that retailers, restaurateurs, and food service operators not offer for sale and service raw red Roma, raw red plum, and raw red round tomatoes unless they are from the sources listed above. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, may continue to be offered from any source.
Since mid April, there have been 145 reported cases of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Saintpaul nationwide, including at least 23 hospitalizations. States reporting illnesses linked to the outbreak include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Salmonella Saintpaul is an uncommon type of Salmonella.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections particularly in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, the organism can get into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses. Consumers who have recently eaten raw tomatoes or foods containing raw tomatoes and are experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their health care provider. All Salmonella infections should be reported to state or local health authorities.
FDA recognizes that the source of the contaminated tomatoes may be limited to a single grower or packer or tomatoes from a specific geographic area. FDA also recognizes that there are many tomato crops across the country and in foreign countries that will be ready for harvest or will become ready in the coming months. In order to ensure that consumers can continue to enjoy tomatoes that are safe to eat, FDA is working diligently with the states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indian Health Service, and various food industry trade associations to quickly determine the source of the tomatoes associated with the outbreak.
FDA is taking these actions while the agency continues to investigate this outbreak with state and federal partners. Such actions are a key component of FDA¡¯s Food Protection Plan, a scientific and risk-based approach to strengthen and protect the nation¡¯s food supply.
FDA will continue to issue updates as more specific information becomes available.

145 Salmonella St. Paul Illnesses in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin caused by Roma, Plum and Round Tomatoes

from marlerblog


Posted on June 7, 2008 by Food Poisoning Lawyer
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
FDA Warns Consumers Nationwide Not to Eat Certain Types of Raw Red Tomatoes

The Food and Drug Administration is expanding its warning to consumers nationwide that a salmonellosis outbreak has been linked to consumption of certain raw red plum, raw red Roma, and raw red round tomatoes, and products containing these tomatoes. FDA recommends that consumers not eat raw red Roma, raw red plum, raw red round tomatoes, or products that contain these types of raw red tomatoes unless the tomatoes are from the sources listed below:
Arkansas, California, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, Netherlands, and Puerto Rico.
So, where did the tainted tomatoes turn-up? Recent reports suggest Mexico as the source of the terrible tomatoes.
The CDC also weighed in a few moments ago. According to the CDC, 16 states: Arizona (12 persons), California (1), Colorado (1), Connecticut (1), Idaho (2), Illinois (17), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), New Mexico (39), Oklahoma (3), Oregon (2), Texas (56 persons), Utah (1), Virginia (2), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3) have ill people.
These were identified because clinical laboratories in all states send Salmonella strains from ill persons to their State public health laboratory for characterization. Among the 73 persons who have been interviewed, illnesses began between April 16 and May 27, 2008. Patients range in age from 1 to 82 years; 49% are female. At least 23 persons were hospitalized.
So, we are having tacos (fish) for dinner tonight and we are thinking about using salsa. So, I looked on the label and tried to figure out if this was part of the recall or not. Damn, if I can not figure this out. As I said in a press release yesterday:
"A Long History of Tomatoes and Salmonella"
¡°Salmonella and tomatoes have an ongoing relationship,¡± Marler said. ¡°Sadly, it¡¯s a long list of outbreaks. We¡¯ve gotten better at tracing the serotypes and finding the source of the tainted food, but we have to do more: we have to prevent contaminated food from entering the food supply in the first place.¡±
In 1990, a reported 174 salmonella javiana illnesses were linked to raw tomatoes as part of a four-state outbreak. In 1993, 84 reported cases of salmonella montevideo were part of a three-state outbreak. In January 1999, salmonella baildon was recovered from 86 infected persons in eight states. In July 2002, an outbreak of salmonella javiana occurred associated with attendance at the 2002 U.S. Transplant . held in Orlando, Florida during late June of that year. Ultimately, the outbreak investigation identified 141 ill persons in 32 states who attended the .. All were linked to consumption of raw tomatoes.
During August and September 2002, a salmonella newport outbreak affected the East Coast. Ultimately, over 404 confirmed cases were identified in over 22 states. Epidemiological analysis indicated that tomatoes were the most likely vehicle, and were traced back to the same tomato packing facility in the mid-Atlantic region.
In early July 2004, as many as 564 confirmed cases of salmonellosis associated with consumption of contaminated tomatoes purchased at Sheetz Convenience Store were reported in five states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia. Seventy percent were associated with tomatoes in food prepared at Sheetz convenience stores. In 2006 two outbreaks of salmonella-tainted tomatoes where reported by the FDA. One was blamed for nearly 100 illnesses in 19 states. FDA also traced tomatoes involved in another outbreak involving 183 people in 21 states.

06/06. SPECIAL REPORT: Tomato/Salmonella Outbreak I
06/06. SPECIAL REPORT: Tomato/Salmonella Outbreak II
06/06. SPECIAL REPORT: Tomato/Salmonella Outbreak III
06/06. SPECIAL REPORT: Tomato/Salmonella Outbreak IV
06/06. SPECIAL REPORT: Tomato/Salmonella Outbreak V
06/06. SPECIAL REPORT: Tomato/Salmonella Outbreak VI
06/06. SPECIAL REPORT: Tomato/Salmonella Outbreak VII

Salmonella Tomatoes Confronts California and Oregon

Posted on June 6, 2008 by Salmonella Lawyer
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
A San Francisco Bay Area resident has Salmonella St. Paul that has sickened over 100 people in in at least nine states and been linked to consumption of tomatoes. The California Department of Public Health said Friday that it is working with local officials to determine if the Contra Costa County resident's illness stemmed from eating tomatoes in California or in another part of the country. The department also said it is working with Oregon officials to determine if an Oregon resident confirmed to have the strain of the illness known as Salmonella St. Paul ate tomatoes while in Southern California.

So, where the Hell did the Salmonella Tomatoes and E. coli Romain Lettuce come from?
Posted on June 9, 2008 by Bill Marler
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/

The Food and Drug Administration last weekend expanded its warning about a salmonella outbreak connected to eating raw tomatoes to 16 states. The initial warning came June 3 about tomatoes in New Mexico and Texas. Saturday, officials expanded the warning nationwide. By Sunday, officials put the reported illness count at 145 to 150 in 16 states. There were 25 hospitalizations but no deaths. There is a quote by one New Mexico Health official that the tomatoes came from Mexico (I can hear Lou Dobbs now). And, this is the best we get from the FDA:
''We're trying to get an answer as quickly as possible as to where these tomatoes came from,'' says David Acheson, director of the FDA's Food Safety and Security Staff.
The same is true in the romaine lettuce outbreak in Washington State. In late May, at least nine people - a possible tenth went untested - were sickened by E. coli bacteria in two counties in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. Officials for the Washington State Department of Health are pointing to romaine lettuce served in educational institutions as the source of contamination. And I find this quote this morning:
"While the source of the romaine is unknown, at this time of year it is likely to have come from the Salinas Valley, said Dennis Donohue, chairman of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and Salinas mayor."
In the days of the risk of bio-terrorism, and with the advent of computer technology to pin-point where our books from Amazon are, you would think we would be able to trace-back contaminated tomatoes and lettuce a bit quicker?

Tomato food safety document ready by end of June

By The Packer staff
Source of Article: http://thepacker.com
(June 9, 12:12 p.m.) While federal and state agencies were investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul linked to fresh tomatoes, the United Fresh Produce Association and the North American Tomato Trade Work Group were preparing to publish the second edition of a commodity-specific food safety document.
David Gombas, United Fresh¡¯s senior vice president of food safety and technology, said the up-dated ¡°Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain¡± should be available by the end of June. He said the document will be available free of charge on the Web sites of United Fresh, the Maitland-based Florida Tomato Growers Exchange Inc. and the Fresno-based California Tomato Farmers cooperative.
Gombas said that while the original version published in 2006 focused primarily on growing and packing, the updated document has more information for other parts of the supply chain, including retail and foodservice. He said more than 40 companies from all parts of the supply chain submitted comments for the 50-page document.

UPDATE: Advice to Consumers OUTBREAK OF SALMONELLA SAINTPAUL IN THE UNITED STATES- Canada

Related Alerts: 2008-06-06 | 2008-06-03
Ottawa, June 6, 2008 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) are continuing to follow an outbreak investigation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) into recent illnesses caused by Salmonella Saintpaul that may be associated with certain types of uncooked, fresh tomatoes consumed in the United States.
CFIA and PHAC want to inform Canadians that both the FDA and the CDC have updated their respective websites to provide on-going information about their investigation. In particular, the FDA has updated their website to include a list of tomatoes that are not associated with the U.S. outbreak. The list is being updated as new information becomes available and can be viewed at: http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html
The current situation in Canada remains unchanged from the Government of Canada advisory issued on June 3, 2008. Consumers should be aware that tomatoes grown in Canada have not been implicated in the U.S. investigation. There continues to be no illnesses reported in Canada linked to the U.S. outbreak.
For more information, consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).
For information on Salmonella, visit the Food Facts webpage at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/concen/causee.shtml
For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at www.inspection.gc.ca.

A Long History of Tomatoes and Salmonella
June 06, 2008 Source of Article: http://www.businesswire.com/

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The CDC, public health officials in several states, the Indian Health Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working together on an ongoing multi-state outbreak of human salmonella serotype saintpaul infections linked to the consumption of tomatoes. According to food borne illness attorney William Marler, this isn¡¯t the first time tomatoes are the source of salmonella infections.
¡°Salmonella and tomatoes have an ongoing relationship,¡± Marler said. ¡°Sadly, it¡¯s a long list of outbreaks. We¡¯ve gotten better at tracing the serotypes and finding the source of the tainted food, but we have to do more: we have to prevent contaminated food from entering the food supply in the first place.¡±
In 1990, a reported 174 salmonella javiana illnesses were linked to raw tomatoes as part of a four-state outbreak. In 1993, 84 reported cases of salmonella montevideo were part of a three-state outbreak. In January 1999, salmonella baildon was recovered from 86 infected persons in eight states. In July 2002, an outbreak of salmonella javiana occurred associated with attendance at the 2002 U.S. Transplant . held in Orlando, Florida during late June of that year. Ultimately, the outbreak investigation identified 141 ill persons in 32 states who attended the .. All were linked to consumption of raw tomatoes.
During August and September 2002, a salmonella newport outbreak affected the East Coast. Ultimately, over 404 confirmed cases were identified in over 22 states. Epidemiological analysis indicated that tomatoes were the most likely vehicle, and were traced back to the same tomato packing facility in the mid-Atlantic region.
In early July 2004, as many as 564 confirmed cases of salmonellosis associated with consumption of contaminated tomatoes purchased at Sheetz Convenience Store were reported in five states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia. Seventy percent were associated with tomatoes in food prepared at Sheetz convenience stores. In 2006 two outbreaks of salmonella-tainted tomatoes where reported by the FDA. One was blamed for nearly 100 illnesses in 19 states. FDA also traced tomatoes involved in another outbreak involving 183 people in 21 states.
Since late April, 2008, 68 persons infected with genetically identical salmonella saintpaul have been identified in Texas (35 persons) and New Mexico (33 persons). In addition, 29 persons with the outbreak strain of salmonella saintpaul have been reported since mid-April in residents of Arizona (6 persons), Colorado (1), Idaho (2), Illinois (12), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (2).
BACKGROUND: Marler Clark has represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness outbreaks since 1993. The firm¡¯s attorneys have litigated high-profile food poisoning cases against such companies as ConAgra, Wendy¡¯s, Chili¡¯s, Chi-Chi¡¯s, and Jack in the Box. Marler Clark currently represents victims of outbreaks traced to ground beef, pot pies, spinach, and peanut butter, as well as other foods. Contact Mary Siceloff at msiceloff@marlerclark.com or 206-719-4705. For further information on tomatoes and salmonella, visit www.marlerclark.com, www.about-salmonella.com, and www.marlerblog.com.

FDA Warns Consumers in New Mexico and Texas Not to Eat Certain Types of Raw Red Tomatoes
The Food and Drug Administration is alerting consumers in New Mexico and Texas that a salmonellosis outbreak appears to be linked to consumption of certain types of raw red tomatoes and products containing raw red tomatoes. The bacteria causing the illnesses are Salmonella serotype Saintpaul, an uncommon type of Salmonella.
The specific type and source of tomatoes are under investigation. However, preliminary data suggest that raw red plum, red Roma, or round red tomatoes are the cause. At this time, consumers in New Mexico and Texas should limit their tomato consumption to tomatoes that have not been implicated in the outbreak. These include cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, and tomatoes grown at home.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections particularly in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, the organism can get into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses. Consumers in New Mexico and Texas who have recently eaten raw tomatoes or foods containing raw tomatoes and are experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their health care provider. All Salmonella infections should be reported to state or local health authorities.
From April 23 though June 1, 2008, there have been 57 reported cases of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Saintpaul in New Mexico and Texas, including 17 hospitalizations. Approximately 30 reports of illness in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Utah are currently being investigated to determine whether they are also linked to tomatoes. There are no reported deaths.
FDA recognizes that the source of the contaminated tomatoes may be limited to a single grower or packer or tomatoes from a specific geographic area. FDA also recognizes that there are many tomato crops across the country and in foreign countries that are just becoming ready for harvest or will become ready in the coming months. In order to ensure that consumers can continue to enjoy tomatoes that are safe to eat, FDA is working diligently with the states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indian Health Service, and various food industry trade associations to quickly determine the source and type of the contaminated tomatoes. As more information becomes available, FDA will update this warning.
Last year FDA began a multi-year Tomato Safety Initiative to reduce the incidence of tomato-related foodborne illness. The Initiative is a collaborative effort between FDA and the state health and agriculture departments in Virginia and Florida, in cooperation with several universities and members of the produce industry.
A key element of the Food Protection Plan -- a scientific and a risk-based approach to strengthen and protect the nation's food supply?is prevention. FDA encourages producers to critically reexamine their operations and apply the scientific principles and regulations established decades ago to provide a safe product for the consumer.
Information on safe handling of produce can be found at www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/prodsafe.html.
Tomato consumer page can be found at http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html
Updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/

Tomato Salmonella Outbreak Affecting Some Local Restaurants


Updated: June 5, 2008 08:25 AM PDT
Tomato Salmonella Outbreak Affecting Some Local Restaurants
Source of Article: http://www.kristv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8435916&nav=menu192_2
CORPUS CHRISTI-Several local restaurants have told KRIS 6 News they have now stopped serving tomatoes due to the nationwide salmonella outbreak.
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control have issued a warning about certain types of tomatoes that could be contaminated with salmonella bacteria.
6 News conducted a random phone survey Wednesday afternoon, and found interesting results. Unlike prior scares involving spinach or beef, where everyone is affected or no one is affected, opinions are divided this time.
For example, tomatoes are temporarily not on the menu at Subway, La Playa, Olive Garden, Water Street Restaurants, and Schlotzky's.
However, tomatoes are still being served at TGI Friday's, Fuddrucker's, Katz 21, Nolan's Poorboys, McDonald's, Mimi's by the Sea, Whataburger, and Wallbangers.
Several of the restaurants that are serving tomatoes told 6 News they receive their tomatoes from parts of the county that are not under suspicion for contamination.
The folks at CC Produce told 6 News they have not yet received any official notification from the government to stop selling roma or full-size red round tomatoes, but they were prepared to take action if needed.
As of Wednesday, there have been 87 salmonella cases reported in 9 states - 57 in Texas and New Mexico. As we reported previously, H-E-B has also issued a voluntary precautionary recall of fresh roma and salad tomatoes, although none of its customers have reported becoming ill. No word on when the tomatoes could be back on the shelves.
Online Reporter: Bart Bedsole

FDA warning on raw red tomatoes after salmonella alert
By Lindsey Partos Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/
05-Jun-2008 - Raw red tomatoes come under scrutiny after a multistate outbreak of the foodborne disease salmonella incites the US Food and Drug Administration to issue a warning to consumers. The FDA has alerted people in New Mexico and Texas that a salmonellosis outbreak appears to be linked to consumption of certain types of raw red tomatoes, and products containing raw red tomatoes. The bacteria causing the illnesses are Salmonella serotype Saintpaul, an uncommon type of Salmonella.
Salmonella is one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the United States with an estimated 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occuring each year in the US: 95 per cent of those cases are foodborne-related.
Salmonella infection occurs when the bacteria are ingested, typically from food derived from infected food-animals, but it can also occur by ingesting the feces of an infected animal or person. "An epidemiologic investigation conducted by the New Mexico and Texas Departments of Health and the Indian Health Service using interviews comparing foods eaten by ill and well persons has identified consumption of raw tomatoes as the likely source of the illnesses in New Mexico and Texas," confirmed the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week.
While the specific type and source of tomatoes is under investigation, the centre comments that "preliminary data suggest that large tomatoes, including Roma and red round are the source."
At this time, the FDA is advising that consumers in New Mexico and Texas should limit their tomato consumption to cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, and tomatoes grown at home.
Since late April, 57 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in Texas (24 persons) and New Mexico (33 persons). Patients range in age from 3 to 82 years, and at least 17 persons were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, said the US CDC.
In addition, 29 persons with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul have been reported since mid-April in residents of Arizona (6 persons), Colorado (1), Idaho (2), Illinois (12), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (2).
In a statement this week the FDA said that it recognizes that the source of the contaminated tomatoes "may be limited to a single grower or packer or tomatoes from a specific geographic area."
The FDA "also recognizes that there are many tomato crops across the country and in foreign countries that are just becoming ready for harvest or will become ready in the coming months."
During the past decade, the consumption of fresh and fresh-cut tomatoes has been linked to 12 different outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States. Those outbreaks include 1,840 confirmed cases of illness.
In response to these outbreaks, last year the FDA began a multi-year Tomato Safety Initiative to reduce the incidence of tomato-related foodborne illness. The Initiative is a collaborative effort between FDA and the state health and agriculture departments in Virginia and Florida, in cooperation with several universities and members of the produce industry. And in a further extension of these food safety initiatives, in fall last year the FDA and the California Department of Public Health announced that safety efforts would have a broader focus on leafy greens, including spinach.
Beginning in October 2007, governmental and state investigators will visit farms in California to assess risk factors for contamination of leafy greens with E Coli., a potentially fatal foodborne bacterium.
The agency also aims to assess the extent to which Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and other preventive controls are being implemented, and to identify areas where risk factors are present.
The move formed the next step in a multi-year initiative by FDA and the State of California's Departments of Public Health and Food and Agriculture to reduce public health risks by focusing on preventive food safety efforts.

No End in Site for Tomato Salmonella Outbreak
source from: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/3221
The number of Salmonella infections linked to tainted raw tomatoes continues to grow as investigators attempt to confirm its source across Texas and New Mexico. This new Salmonella outbreak?Salmonella St. Paul?is linked to fresh tomatoes, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. Also confirmed by the department, in New Mexico, 40 cases of the same St. Paul Salmonella strain have occurred. An additional three cases were reported in Harris County, bringing the total to 24 cases in Texas, state health officials said, which includes four cases in Dallas County. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), preliminary investigations suggest raw red plum, red Roma, or round red tomatoes are to blame. Officials are also trying to determine if illnesses in 10 other states might be linked to the tomato Salmonella outbreak.

The first New Mexico illnesses were reported as early as May 6 and were linked to tomatoes purchased at Wal-Mart, Basha¡¯s Supermarkets, and Lowe¡¯s Markets. Deborah Busemeyer, the health department¡¯s communications director, said: ¡°We bought a ton of tomatoes, and we¡¯re in the process of testing them. We¡¯re testing all different kinds. We tried to take a wide sample,¡± she explained. New Mexico officials began this testing on a variety of tomatoes statewide in an attempt to determine the source. The New Mexico Environment Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the FDA are working on a traceback investigation. A spokeswoman for the CDC said it planned to post information about the outbreak on its Website. Emily Palmer of the Texas Department of State Health Services said officials are monitoring the outbreak and may consider testing as the investigation continues.

The FDA suggests only eating tomatoes not connected to the outbreak, such as cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine attached, and tomatoes grown at home. Always ensure the tomato¡¯s skin is not broken and wash tomatoes before eating them. Meanwhile, some Dallas businesses have removed tomatoes as a precaution.

In an earlier Salmonella outbreak, state and county officials linked tomatoes that sickened 19 customers and three employees in October 2007 at a Minnesota Quizno¡¯s. In 2006, tomatoes were linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Newport affecting 109 people in 19 states. Last year, Florida growers persuaded state legislators to institute a mandatory safety program to help prevent such outbreaks.

Salmonella can occur when food is improperly stored or handled and when preparers do not wash their hands or sanitize implements involved in meat storage. Salmonella is a common organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain and cramping within 12 to 72 hours of infection. Generally, the illness lasts a week. In some, hospitalization is required because the infection may have spread from the intestines to the blood stream and other body sites. Without treatment, severe cases of Salmonella can result in death; however, some Salmonella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, largely due to the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals.

McDonald's pulls tomatoes from sandwiches over salmonella scare
By Mike Hughlett | Tribune reporter
12:31 PM CDT, June 9, 2008
McDonald' s Corp. said Monday it has temporarily pulled tomatoes from its sandwiches in in the United States, a precautionary move in the wake of a salmonella outbreak.
Since mid-April, 145 people in at least 16 states have been infected with the bacteria known as Salmonella Saintpaul, which has been linked to raw tomatoes. The bulk of the cases have been in Texas and New Mexico, and 23 of them have required hospitalization.
In response, Oak Brook-based McDonald's, the nation's largest restaurant company, pulled tomatoes from its premium chicken sandwiches and the Big N' Tasty burger Friday. The company has not detected salmonella bacteria in any of its tomato supplies, said McDonald's spokesman Bill Whitman.
"But with an abundance of caution, we want to make sure our food items containing tomatoes are absolutely safe," he said.
Several other restaurant chains and supermarkets have also temporarily pulled tomatoes
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that consumers should limit consumption of raw red Roma, plum and round tomatoes. The agency has advised restaurants and grocery stores not to sell those types of tomatoes.
Raw cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes don't present a problem, the FDA says. McDonald's said it will continue to serve grape tomatoes in its premium salads.
In Illinois, 17 people have been diagnosed recently with Salmonella Saintpaul, though state health authorities say it's too early to determine if the cases are linked to tomatoes.
mhughlett@tribune.com

 

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