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Jun 25, 2008 08:09 AM

Tomato recall still in effect?

Is it safe again to buy tomatoes? I need my fix! :)

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  1. This morning's Boston Globe reported that 5 additional cases of salmonella infections have been reported, bringing the total for MA to 17. The article is slightly confusing, since the additional cases were reported in late May - early June. However, I'm assuming the restriction is still in effect...

    1. I've done some googling, but I'm struggling to understand how you get salmonella in tomatoes. I've never heard of that before. Does anyone here know?

      7 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        The contamination comes from handling and/or field application of sprays. A few years ago there was a major problem with salmonella on cantaloup. Apparently people are either not adequately washing their tomatoes or it may be that the tomatoes are treated to make them shiny and the nasties are under the protective coating.

        The tomatoes that have been safe to eat all along are grape tomatoes and tomatoes with stems attached (usually hydroponically grown), and I'm not absolutely certain about cherry tomatoes. There were three kinds that were pronounced safe but I'm only certain about grape and stemmed because those are the kind I normally buy, so for me there has been no impact.

        1. re: Caroline1

          so if I buy a bunch of tomatoes on the vine, wash them really well and peel them, I should be ok, right?

          1. re: Halie

            They say tomatoes on the vine are safe. Peeling and washing them doesn't seem as though it would make them any more safe.

            I would say that since they don't know the source, no one is gonna be willing to make that call. Use at your own risk I guess. But the risk doesn't seem very big if you follow the guidelines.

            I bought some tomatoes the other day. Ate them. I'm still alive. As I said, I'm in TO and there's been no reports in Ontario.


            1. re: Halie

              Don't take my word for it. Try this:

              I've been eating stemmed and grape tomatoes this whole time with no ill effect, and I don't peel. Just rinse under running water.

            2. re: Caroline1

              caroline - cherry tomatoes are fine as well.

              1. re: Caroline1

                Thanks Caroline. It's disturbing me that you can get food poisoning from one of my favourite foods. Luckily I'm in the UK so I don't have to worry (yet).

              2. re: greedygirl

                Produce can be infected with salmonella and e-coli through the water that is used in their production, among other sources.

                That's how it gets "in" the fruit.

              3. Both McD's and Moe's here in TO pulled tomatoes. As of Friday McD's has no tomatoes and as of last Wednesday, Moes has them back on the menu.

                2TBOMK there have been no reported cases of sal up here.


                1. Yeah I'm in FL, gotta go grocery shopping today. I guess I'll see when I get there with the assumption that if theyre on the shelf they should be ok.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: food_eater79

                    according to an article i read in today's paper, they think the contaminated tomatoes are from mexico AND florida - so be careful with locally grown tomatoes, foodeater.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      According to what I have read, the ONLY places still under suspicion by the FDA are Mexico and south Florida. The FDA website has all the info about what states are cleared. I live in Mexico and have continued to buy and eat the dreaded plum tomatoes. In fact, I have not heard of one case of salmonella poisoning in Sinaloa, my state, which I believe is the biggest exporter of tomatoes in Mexico. The news here has been about the drastic economic impact this scare has had on the industry.

                      1. re: MazDee

                        Well I'm in Central FL, not quite south FL. The grocery store had all types of tomatoes on the shelf, but I'm just going to wait a couple more weeks before I buy. I could have asked the manager where the tomatoes were from, but it's not a huge deal. I can wait.

                        1. re: food_eater79

                          we just had dinner at a local turkish restaurant - tomatoes galore - and my nieces were talking about the tomato issue when our server walked over to the table. he looked at us and said, "don't worry, we get all our tomatoes from florida."

                          i almost choked on my mouthful of salad [which was rife with florida tomatoes, of course]. he couldn't understand why i was staring at him in disbelief.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            The counties currently shipping tomatoes from Florida are on FDA's cleared list
                            and there is no evidence the contamination occurred in Florida. The rarity of the strain in association with tomatoes makes it likely the contamination is from a single source, but the way tomatoes are co-mingled and repacked, the source of the tomatoes is irrelevant, the source of the contamination is what is important.

                            1. re: NYCubsFan

                              well, since our server didn't tell us which county in florida the tomatoes were from [and i doubt anyone on the restaurant's staff would have known] , there was no way to be sure that they were safe.

                              i'm just sayin.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Had they told you which county, would you have known if it was on the cleared list? My point is really that from what the FDA and CDC have said, if it even was tomatoes, the fact that they are from Florida, Mexico or anywhere else doesn't matter much. Since new cases continue to turn up after the alert and subsequent pulling of tomatoes from menus and shelves, the chances that contamination occurred somewhere along the supply chain (e.g., a distribution warehouse in Texas) is more likely if it even was tomatoes. Therefore, you could be getting them from California, Ohio or anywhere else, and they can still be traveling through the same supply chain and still be at risk.

                                1. re: NYCubsFan

                                  "Had they told you which county, would you have known if it was on the cleared list?"
                                  actually, i would have, but i know i'm in the minority of patrons who show up at the restaurant armed with the necessary information :)

                                  didn't really matter - i ate the tomatoes before he even said anything. i was just surprised that he made the statement with such confidence, clearly completely unaware that some florida tomatoes were still under suspicion.

                  2. I am curious about this as well. I need a BLT...

                    I was at the store on Saturday, and they had tomatoes from Arkansas, touthing them as "safe", Ill probably wait another week or so.