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Consumers Urged to Avoid Certain Tomatoes Amid Salmonella Scare
Date:6/10/2008

nited States has been beset by a series of food-safety crises. In fact, the U.S. Academy of Sciences this week declared that vegetables and fruits have become "leading vehicles" of food-borne illness in the United States.

The problem with tomatoes comes just as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed an additional $275 million for the FDA to improve food and medical product safety. More than $125 million of the proposed amount would go toward implementing the FDA's Food Protection Plan, designed to help ensure the safety of both imported and domestic-grown food.

An outbreak of E. coli bacteria in spinach in 2006 essentially destroyed the national spinach crop that year, Corbo said. "They put a blanket ban on consumption of spinach and, of course, it affected people who had nothing to do with it," he said.

By detailing which types of tomatoes from which regions are safe and not safe, officials seem to be trying to avoid what happened with the spinach outbreak, Corbo said.

But that means consumers will have to be vigilant, at least for a while. "People should be careful in terms of the plum and Roma and round tomatoes to make sure they're buying them from states and countries cleared by the FDA and CDC," Corbo said. "There is a lot of information to sift through."

More information

Visit the CDC for more on the current salmonella outbreak.



SOURCES: Tony Corbo, legislative representative, Food & Water Watch, Washington, D.C.; Sharon A. Wilkerson, Ph.D., R.N., acting dean, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing, College Station


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