FDA Completes Tomato Trace back in Salmonella Case

Posted Jun 21, 2008 by Bob Ewing
The FDA has completed the trace back for some of the tomatoes associated with the salmonella outbreak- they have traced the pathway of some tomatoes from the point of purchase or consumption to each point on the distribution chain.
Red Plum/Red Roma tomatoes.
Red Plum/Red Roma tomatoes.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have completed the trace back for some of the tomatoes that are associated with the recent salmonella outbreak. The agency has been able to trace the pathway of some tomatoes from the point of purchase (e.g. supermarket) or consumption (e.g. restaurant) to each point on the distribution chain down to certain farms in Mexico and Florida.
The FDA is endeavoring to focus the investigation; as part of effort they are sending teams of multi-disciplinary experts to both Mexico and Florida this weekend to conduct joint inspections of the farms and other critical points on the supply chain where the tomatoes may have become contaminated.
The FDA investigators will work with regulators in Mexico and Florida at the farms and other distribution points to conduct inspections. The FDA will also continue to collect samples of tomatoes and conduct trace back activities.
The efforts to narrow the investigation include cooperating with the state of Texas to trace back a cluster of illnesses recently found by the state of Texas. The object of this joint effort is to provide additional information to bring the agency closer to the source of the contamination.
As well, the FDA is working jointly with Mexico and Florida and other states to update the list of areas not associated with the outbreak and will continue to post the information on the Web site.
Raw red plum, red Roma and red round tomatoes, harvested from one of the sources that FDA has identified are NOT associated with the outbreak and are acceptable to eat. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, from all sources, and tomatoes grown at home are also not linked to the outbreak and can be eaten.
This salmonella outbreak underscores the importance of knowing where and how your food is grown which supports the value of locally grown produce.
A tip of my cap to Debra for the tip.