20080630-sicktomato.pngThe good news: tomatoes may not be the cause of the salmonella outbreak that began back in April and have since gotten 810 people sick. The bad news: no one is really sure what is.

Tomatoes remain the top suspect and the advice on which ones consumers should avoid hasn't changed, stressed Food and Drug Administration food safety chief Dr. David Acheson.

However, he said it is possible that tomatoes being harvested in states considered safe could be picking up salmonella germs in packing sheds, warehouses or other facilities currently under investigation.

[...] "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 doublechecking their own probes just in case some other type of produce is really the culprit.

This really is turning out to be a sad summer for tomato lovers. As always, it sounds like it's best to exercise caution when consuming tomatoes, or buy them from farmers' markets (or eat the ones that you've grown). The FDA is recommending everyone to stay alert, as the outbreak has shown no signs of disappearing completely—the last reported case was on June 15.

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