Red, raw, ripe, fresh tomatoes, brimming with vitamins, minerals, and a rare strain of Salmonella. That’s what the Food and Drug Administration says about raw tomatoes in the Lone Star State and the Land of Enchantment.
FDA suggests that residents of Texas and New Mexico make salads with cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine attached, and tomatoes grown at home, which have not been implicated in the outbreak. Don’t eat plum, roma, or big ol’ round tomatoes. Symptoms of Salmonella infection are particularly unappetizing and do not go well with salad, so we will merely link to them, but fatalities are not unknown.
The Centers for Disease Control has identified samples of Salmonella SaintPaul with the same genetic fingerprint in a number of states (including Virginia) since April, 24 of them in Texas and 33 in New Mexico. CDC has detailed consumer advice on tomato handling, storage, and consumption. Packing houses and distributors have been identified as disease vectors in past outbreaks.
FDA’s June 2007 publication noted:
Most tomato-associated outbreaks over the past ten years have been traced to product originating from the Eastern shore of Virginia and from Florida; however outbreaks have also been traced to Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, and California.
Time to add Texas and New Mexico, partner. Is it safer to stick to barbecue until this is over? Happy trails.
Image by Mike Licht, created with dill pixels, not raw tomatoes. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com