Salmonella-Tainted Tomato Illnesses Reach 228
UPDATE | June 12, 2008 - 228 cases of illness related to salmonella-tainted tomatoes have now been reported in 23 states. The FDA has yet to pinpoint a source of the outbreak.
The toll from salmonella-tainted tomatoes has jumped to 228 illnesses. The government has learned of five dozen previously unknown cases - and says it's possible the food poisoning contributed to the death of a cancer patient in Texas.
Six states that had escaped the outbreak so far have been added to the list - Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New York, Tennessee and Vermont - bringing the number of affected states to 23.
The Food and Drug Administration still hasn't pinpointed the source of the outbreak. And with the latest known illness striking on June 1, officials also aren't sure if all the tainted tomatoes are off the market.
PREVIOUSLY | June 11, 2008 - The US Food and Drug Administration is close to nailing down the origin of a tomato salmonella outbreak that has sickened over 167 people from 17 states.
So far Tomatoes from Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and a number of other states and countries have not had any reports of outbreaks.
The salmonella outbreak has devastated the Tomato industry and caused restaurants across North America to ban the fruit from their products, including McDonalds and Tim Hortons.
Federal health officials said Tuesday that they hoped to announce soon the source of a salmonella outbreak associated with raw tomatoes that has sickened at least 167 people in 17 states and led restaurants and grocery stores to remove some types of raw tomatoes from their menus and shelves.
“We are getting closer to identifying the source or sources,” Julie Zawisza, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration, said late Tuesday.
The agency warned consumers over the weekend to avoid certain raw red plum, red Roma and red round tomatoes and products containing them. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes and those sold with the vine still attached are not associated with the outbreak, officials said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Agency has cleared fresh Florida tomatoes that are currently being harvested and all California tomatoes in connection with a salmonella scare in the U.S.
The FDA ruling comes as a relief to growers in North America's largest tomato-growing regions.
"(Investigators) are trying to determine if the tomatoes which are affected with the salmonella disease -- which they have deemed to be raw red plumb, red roma, and red round tomatoes -- if those are domestically grown tomatoes or imported," CNN's Sandra Endo told CTV's Canada AM Wednesday.