The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting consumers in New Mexico and Texas that a salmonellosis outbreak appears to be linked to consumption of certain types of raw red tomatoes and products containing raw red tomatoes. The bacteria causing the illnesses are Salmonella serotype Saintpaul, an uncommon type of Salmonella.
The specific type and source of tomatoes are under investigation. However, preliminary data suggest that raw red plum, red Roma, or round red tomatoes are the cause. At this time, consumers in
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections particularly in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, the organism can get into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses. Consumers in
From April 23 though June 1, 2008, there have been 57 reported cases of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Saintpaul in
The FDA recognizes that the source of the contaminated tomatoes may be limited to a single grower or packer or tomatoes from a specific geographic area. The FDA also recognizes that there are many tomato crops across the country and in foreign countries that are just becoming ready for harvest or will become ready in the coming months. In order to ensure that consumers can continue to enjoy tomatoes that are safe to eat, the FDA is working with the states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indian Health Service, and various food industry trade associations to quickly determine the source and type of the contaminated tomatoes.
Last year FDA began a multi-year Tomato Safety Initiative to reduce the incidence of tomato-related foodborne illness. The Initiative is a collaborative effort between FDA and the state health and agriculture departments in