Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Today In Salmonella

Image credit: screenshot from Attack Of the Killer Tomatoes from Badmovies.org

Since I'm seeing hits on the salmonella outbreak, I'll pass on the latest from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this morning. Tomatoes from these states and countries have now been determined to not be "associated with the outbreak":











New York


North Carolina



South Carolina



West Virginia



Dominican Republic




Puerto Rico

Salmonellosis Outbreak in Certain Types of Tomatoes: June 9, 2008

I've featured the places in bold type that have been added to that list since the FDA's Saturday bulletin on this infection. Those are the changes I've noted, the FDA didn't point this out. No places have been dropped from that list that I can see. That's reassuring, to say the least.

WebMD provided this advice today:

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.

Salmonella Outbreak in Certain Raw, Red Tomatoes Sickens at Least 167 People in 17 States

By the way, that WebMD article also has a set of photos showing the various tomatoes that are considered safe, and those that can't be considered safe at this time. Take a look if you have any doubts.

UPDATE (Jun. 11): According to both the AP and the Chicago Tribune, Florida has been added to the list of "safe" tomato producing states.

UPDATE 2: U.S. News & World Report says that cooked tomatoes should be OK:

Washing tomatoes doesn't make them safe to eat, Nancy Shute reports. Salmonella doesn't just lie on the surface of plants, so it can't be washed away or killed by sterilizing solutions commonly used in produce processing. But canned tomatoes are fine, and so are fresh tomatoes that have been cooked to the boiling point, since heating past 160 degrees kills pathogens.

Health Buzz: Tomatoes, Diabetes, and Other Health News

Tomato sauce should be OK, but in the case of fresh tomatoes, they need to be from either a "safe" state or one of the varieties of tomato that aren't considered a risk.

For the time being, I'm going to avoid fresh tomatoes unless I know where they came from. That is, I'll do that until they've found the source of the salmonella.

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