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How to Have Your Tomatoes, and Eat Them, Too
Date:6/13/2008

FDA offers steps to help reduce your risk of salmonella poisoning

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Next to wanting to know what's causing salmonella bacteria to contaminate tomatoes across the United States, the biggest question consumers have had during the past week is, "Do I have to stop eating tomatoes to make sure I don't get sick?"

Of course, the safest way to protect yourself from any food is to not eat it, but tomatoes and tomato products are so much a part of the American way of life that staying away from them completely may be extremely difficult.

And, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, some types of tomatoes have been found not to contain the Salmonella Saintpaul bacterium that has sickened 228 cases so far.

Safe tomatoes include ones you've grown at home, raw cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes with the vine still attached.

But protecting yourself against salmonella infection means more than choosing the correct type of tomato to eat.

The FDA has a number of suggestions in a question-and-answer format on its Web site:

What kinds of tomatoes should be avoided during this outbreak?

At this time, consumers should avoid eating or handling raw red plum, raw red Roma, and raw red round tomatoes. If consumers already have these kinds of tomatoes in their homes and are unsure where they were grown or harvested, they are encouraged to contact the store where they bought the tomatoes. Check the link on the FDA Web site often, because it's updating regions of the country that get ruled out as the sources of the outbreak.

What kinds of raw tomatoes could consumers continue to buy during this outbreak?

Consumers may continue to buy any type of tomato from sources that have not been linked to the outbreak. Raw cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes with the vine still attached have not been linked t
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