Greg Laden's Blog

I never believed it was tomatoes

I am not entirely sure that the FDA has actually identified a tomato with Salmonella on it. The tomato hypothesis was based on recall data, which is notoriously iffy. Not totally useless, but iffy.

The FDA, gutted by years of uncaring neglect by evil Republicans, today finds itself incapable of addressing the food safety issue, it would seem. Over 800 cases of food poisoning since April 10th is apparently considered a bit high. And there seems to be no reasonable explanation or anything close to an explanation as tomatoes become increasingly innocent looking.

“The source of contamination has been ongoing at least through early June. And we don’t have any evidence that whatever the source is, it’s been removed from the market,” said Dr. Patricia Griffin of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Disease detectives at the CDC in Atlanta are double-checking their own probes just in case some other type of produce is really the culprit.

“We have also kept an open mind about other possibilities and are looking into other ingredients,” Griffin said.

She wouldn’t identify other potential suspects, except to say that from the beginning some patients have told the CDC they ate raw tomatoes in fresh salsa and guacamole. Officials have previously cleared jarred salsas.

For now, the FDA continues to urge consumers nationwide to avoid raw red plum, red Roma or red round tomatoes unless they were grown in specific states or countries that FDA has cleared of suspicion. Check FDA’s Web site – – for an updated list. Also safe are grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached.



  1. #1 Karen
    June 30, 2008

    Hah! I’ve been right all these years, and nobody’s listened! The proper way to serve tomatoes is cooked. As in pasta sauce, stewed tomatoes, stuffed tomatoes, pizza sauce… anything cooked enough to kill the salmonella and mellow the raw aftertaste of this “fruit”. Take that, all you people who’ve laughed at me all these years for pulling the raw tomatoes out of my sandwiches and salads!

    Sorry, that’s a bit of a vent, but I’ve been wanting to say it for nearly four decades. 🙂

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    July 1, 2008

    Oh, but Karen, tomatoes! Sweet and tart and juicy and fleshy, with the faint scent of nightshade hanging over the whole thing. In fact, I have a perfectly ripe one in the pantry right now that’s calling my name. If only it were sun-warmed, it would be perfect.

    Right. Gotta go see about a tomato.

  3. #3 Dunc
    July 1, 2008

    Well, you’ve gotta remember there are tomatoes, and there are tomatoes. Most people don’t even know what a real tomato is supposed to taste like.

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