Last Friday, Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's associate commissioner for food protection, said the investigation into the outbreak had zeroed in on "a number of farms" in both Florida and Mexico.
"These farms along with their associated distribution chains are going to be part of an ongoing investigation," he added, noting, "We do not have a specific farm involved in the contamination; we have to look at the whole chain."
Health officials have said all along that the bulk of the tomatoes available at the start of the outbreak in mid-April had come from Mexico and parts of Florida.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea in humans. Some 40,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States each year, although the CDC estimates that because milder cases are not diagnosed or reported, the actual number of infections may be 30 or more times greater. Approximately 600 people die each year after being infected.
However, the strain of Salmonella Saintpaul had been previously considered rare. In 2007, according to the CDC, there were only three people infected in the country during April through June.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on the salmonella outbreak.
SOURCES: June 26, 2008, report, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; June 20, 2008, teleconference with David Acheson, M.D., associate commissioner for food protection, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Ian Willi
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