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

o the outbreak in any region, and consumers may continue to buy them. Tomatoes grown at home also are not linked to this outbreak.

Will washing the tomatoes identified in this outbreak make them safe to eat?

Consumers are advised not to try to wash raw red plum, red Roma, or raw red round tomatoes that are implicated in the outbreak. Throw these tomatoes out. Salmonella is very hard to wash off.

Can cooking tomatoes eliminate salmonella?

Consumers should not attempt to cook the tomatoes involved in this outbreak in an effort to kill salmonella. Handling tomatoes contaminated with salmonella can spread the bacterium to anything the handler touches, including hands, kitchen utensils, cutting boards, sinks, and other foods. Cooking tomatoes in the home will not ensure that salmonella is eliminated.

Are canned tomatoes and processed foods containing tomatoes safe for consumers during this outbreak?

Consumers may continue to buy and eat canned (that is, processed) red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes and canned or bottled foods containing these or other types of tomatoes if they were processed by a commercial food-processing facility. A few examples are the canned tomatoes and canned or bottled tomato juice and spaghetti sauce found in grocery stores.

Are tomatoes from farmers' markets included in this outbreak?

Farmers' markets get their tomatoes from a variety of sources that are not necessarily limited to local farms. These other sources may include the same ones that provided the tomatoes implicated in the salmonella outbreak. Consumers should ask retailers at farmers' markets what the sources of their tomatoes are.

How should consumers handle raw tomatoes not associated with the outbreak?

Again, the tomatoes associated with the outbreak should be thrown out. For tomatoes not associated with the outbreak, consumers
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