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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tomato 'repacking' vexes salmonella trackers

A pretty fascinating follow up to the June 10 post about salmonella on tomatoes. 90 percent of tomatoes are repacked to meet the needs of commercial customers, such as restaurant chains, that demand that each box contain vegetables of similar size and ripeness. Not only does repacking make it harder to figure out where a bad tomato may have been grown, it raises the prospect that consumers who think they are buying produce from one of the many designated "safe" states - California is one of them - may be getting tomatoes comingled with produce from other regions. At least 810 Americans have been sickened by the strain Salmonella Saintpaul, which can cause stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, making it the largest recorded outbreak of the illness ever traced to produce. Fresh tomatoes grown this spring in South Florida and Jalisco, Coahuila and Sinaloa, Mexico, remain the primary focus of the investigation, although tests of 1,700 samples so far have turned up no trace of the bug. More here.

posted by CASFS 2006 @ 8:29 PM

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