Restaurants, Stores Pull Tomatoes Due To Salmonella Outbreak

June 9, 2008 9:44:36 PM PDT
A salmonella outbreak has prompted several restaurants and stores to pull their tomatoes and the FDA has now issued a warning. California-grown tomatoes, however, are not on the list of potentially dangerous produce. But the Food and Drug Administration wants you to avoid eating raw red roma, red plum or red round tomatoes.

Many of your favorite eateries like Mcdonald's, Quizno's, Taco Bell and In-And-Out have been forced to pull fresh tomatoes from the menu. Chipotle Grill has stopped serving its tomato salsa "as long as there remains concerns about the tomato supply,"

J.D. Hanson from the Center on Food Safety said "This could affect the whole country. I mean we're talking tomatoes grown by large commercial firms that get shipped everywhere."

145 cases of salmonella poisoning have been reported since mid-April. Most of the cases have been in Texas and New Mexico but 14 other states were involved. The scare has shaken up many people who eat salad on a regular basis. The FDA says cherry and grape tomatoes are still safe to eat, as are all California-grown tomatoes like the ripen-on-the-vine varieties sold at Bentley's in North Fresno.

Kevin Agrava of Bentley's said "We have large vine-ripe tomatoes. We have cluster tomatoes. Normally we carry grape tomatoes and roma tomatoes but we're out of those."

While Bentley's has tomatoes available because it buys from local growers, stores like Von's and Albertson's have pulled their tomatoes from the produce section. Again, the tomatoes to avoid are red roma, red round and red plum. Hanson said "Follow the FDA's advice, don't buy these kinds of tomatoes and then wash all of your produce."

The list of restaurants and stores pulling tomatoes is steadily growing with Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Burger King being added.

The Valley is still a few weeks away from its peak tomato harvest season.


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