CNS – Yes we have no tomatoes today.’’ That was the message at many Southland fast food restaurants after a nationwide outbreak of salmonella poisoning was linked to certain types of raw red tomatoes. Restaurants and fast food outlets like McDonald’s and Jack-in-the-Box were urged not to use tomatoes in their sandwiches and salads, and many of them complied. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised consumers not to eat plum, Roma or round red tomatoes, all of which were implicated in the outbreak caused by an uncommon type of salmonella bacteria.
Since mid-April, 145 people nationwide have come down with the same strain of salmonella poisoning and 23 were hospitalized, according to the FDA. Until the source of the contamination is found and contained, consumption of tomatoes should be limited to cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes. Tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and home-grown tomatoes, as these are not likely to be the source of the current outbreak, according to the FDA. Raw red plum, Roma and round red tomatoes grown and harvested in California, Georgia, Canada, Puerto Rico and Guatemala, among other areas, have not been associated with the outbreak and are safe to eat, according to the FDA
Raw tomatoes are often used in fresh salsa, guacamole and other dishes, the FDA warned. Consumers who are unsure of where their tomatoes are from were encouraged to contact the store or place of purchase for that information.