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Is Federal probe stumped on bad tomatoes?

Everybody knows that coming "close" usually does not count.  For the last couple news cycles, top officials from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration(FDA) including Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach have been quoted saying that the agency is "very close" to naming the source of the tainted tomatoes that have spread Salmonella Saintpaul to 17 states.

Tonight, however, comes a report in the Los Angeles Times that FDA hunt for the source be failing to bag any prey.  Here’s what the LA Times was told:

"Obviously the critical question is, where did these specific tomatoes come from? And we’re not quite there yet. At this point today, we don’t know where they came from," said David Acheson, the FDA’s associate commissioner for foods.

And some Q&A:

Has the FDA found the source of the tainted tomatoes?

No, the investigation continues. Health officials are hampered because tomatoes don’t carry bar codes. Suppliers might get the fruit from multiple farms, and that makes it hard to figure out where the contamination started.

Any suspects?

Investigators are focusing on tomatoes from central Florida and Mexico — regions that would have supplied the bulk of the fruit on the market in April, when the outbreak started. They also have ruled out all of California and northern Florida, which also are big tomato-growing regions. Those areas were not harvesting at the time of the outbreak and could not have been responsible.

Go here for more of: Federal probe stumped on bad tomatoes.