The Checkout

Tomato Salad for Everyone

Annys Shin

So the latest in the salmonella outbreak last week was the Food and Drug Administration lifting their warning about certain types of tomatoes.

All we know at this point is tomatoes on the market are safe because there is no way they could be coming from farms that were shipping tomatoes back in April when people first started getting sick.

FDA and the Centers for Disease Control are not saying tomatoes weren't responsible for the outbreak, only that the ones on the market now are safe. They are "seriously considering" the possibility that jalapeno peppers as well as tomatoes may have spread the bacteria.

Tomatoes remain a suspect based on the strength of the evidence initially gathered in New Mexico, the state that first realized it had an outbreak on its hands.

New Mexico's health department is considered among the better ones in the country when it comes to tracking foodborne illness. Yet, some foodborne illness experts are skeptical about the FDA/CDC's multi-produce vehicle theory. It is possible, but not probable, they say. Tomato growers, of course, never believed their product was the cause.

About all we do know right now is that people are still getting sick, though the number of new cases reported each day is starting to taper off, the CDC said. As of Friday, the case count stood at 1237, with Montana reporting its first case.

We'll keep you posted on what happens next. Even if investigators never find the source, this outbreak is sure to be the subject of much discussion for many months to come.

By Annys Shin |  July 21, 2008; 7:42 AM ET Annys Shin
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Produce and farm raised fish grown in other countries besides the U.S. and E.U. do not have to adhere to environmental regulations that we do. They can use raw sewage, DDT, and what ever they feel like to fertilze. Buy american or canadian. period. If you don't believe me research it

Posted by: Breeze | July 21, 2008 12:01 PM

Could it be that someone who doesn't salsa, especially salsa cruda, started the rumor about tomatoes spreading Salmonella and causing illness? Now jalapenos and cilantro are being made culprits of the same crime. What salsa ingredient will cited next as a "vegetable of interest"...onions? Then limes?

Posted by: ChiliDude | July 21, 2008 12:26 PM

A serious question, asked in all sincerity: What senses can a consumer employ when selecting foods to avoid running into salmonella? Can a perfect-looking food item be infected?

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