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U.S. Health Officials Closer to Origin of Salmonella Outbreak
Date:6/11/2008

certain states and countries. Also, the Los Angeles Unified School District has suspended serving raw tomatoes, the AP said.

The FDA recommends consuming raw, red plum, raw, red Roma or raw, red round tomatoes only if grown and harvested from these areas: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Belgium, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico.

"The tomatoes that are being grown at home or in local gardens in the area should be fine," said Sharon Wilkerson, acting dean of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing in College Station. "The main thing is to really wash things, and [tomatoes] should be washed before removing the hull or stem. Tomatoes you see in stores that are multiples on stems are usually grown in hot houses, and they should be OK."

States reporting illnesses linked to the outbreak include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, the FDA said.

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.

Tomatoes can be a particular problem, Williams said, with 13 multi-state outbreaks of salmonella linked to tomatoes since 1990.

Acheson denied that the food-safety system is deteriorating, pointing out, instead, that technology for detection is improving at the same time consumers are becoming more informed. "The situation is not getting worse but this is a
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