As many of you are aware, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released information to consumers nationwide concerning an ongoing salmonellosis outbreak that has been epidemiologically linked to the consumption of certain raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes, as well as food products containing these raw red tomatoes.
In addition, the FDA has published a list of states, territories and countries where tomatoes are grown and harvested which have not been associated with this outbreak. However, as this is an ongoing investigation and the potential still exists that other states, territories and countries may or may not be included in this advisory in the future, it is our recommendation that our clients eliminate the use of raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes, as well as food products containing these raw red tomatoes, until the FDA provides clearance that these products are safe to consume. This is in part due to the nature of the growing and packing of tomatoes, which does not necessarily occur in the same state.
EHA Consulting Group of Baltimore, MD has conducted traceback research in regard to a very large multi-state outbreak of salmonella involving Roma tomatoes within the past two years, and identifying specific farm location and even the state where the tomato was grown can be almost impossible due to the practices of growing, harvesting, and more specifically packing and even boxing and labeling of tomatos. It is therefore that we take the FDA's statement with regard to this commodity very seriously, fully-well recognizing that there are wholesome tomatos in every state that has been listed on the FDA website that will be caught in this quagmire with significant economic damage to the industry and the loss of a nutritious product to the consumer.
At this time, FDA is advising consumers to limit their consumption of tomatoes to the following types of tomatoes:
We will continue to monitor this situation and provide you with appropriate updates as necessary.
To learn more about the current status of this outbreak, additional updates and more specific information concerning salmonella and produce safety, please visit the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01848.html.