How Does Salmonella Get Inside Tomatoes?
This summer season is off to a bleak, tomato-less start with the recent salmonella outbreak in certain types of raw red tomatoes. Serious Eater Butrflygirly asked, "Couldn't this be avoided by proper washing? If you wash/clean something properly, all should be good. Right?"
Actually, it wouldn't be as bad if all we had to worry about was fecal matter getting on tomatoes. Although there are a number of ways that salmonella can be transmitted from feces to produce, the surface contaminants are killed in a chlorine bath when tomatoes are delivered to a packing plant.
Of course, this doesn't do much good if the salmonella is inside the tomato, which can occur if there are cuts or scars on the skin, or through a permeable scar where the stem was attached, according to the United Fresh Produce Association. However, researchers are stumped on how just a few infected tomatoes could cause an outbreak of this size. Sounds like that for the time being, it's probably best to steer clear of raw red plum, Roma, and round tomatoes. [via Gourmet]