FDA Declares Tomatoes Safe Again, But Not Hot Peppers
With salmonella outbreaks slowing down, the FDA reported yesterday that tomatoes are in the clear, but fresh jalapeño and serrano peppers still need attention.
The tomato industry estimates more than $100 million in losses, but according to the FDA, every type of tomato in stores and fields today is safe (and happy). The outbreak peaked between May 20 and June 10 when about 33 people became ill a day, but dropped to an average of 19 people a day between June 11 and June 20.
How can two different types of produce get contaminated with the same rare strain of Salmonella Saintpaul? According to FDA food safety chief Dr. David Acheson, a large farm was perhaps growing tomatoes in one section and peppers in another, but both passed through a communal washing station with contaminated water.