The hunt is on.
What is the source of the tomatoes making people sick throughout the Western United States with the rare Saintpaul strain of Salmonella?
Texas is looking at its own Harris County. The Houston Chronicle reports:
Frank Borden, manager of the Texas Department of State Health Services’ food and drug inspections branch, said he has concentrated his agents in Houston, where they are scrutinizing invoices and other documents in hope of finding a source for the contaminated fruit.
"We’ll be looking for a common source," he said, "looking at paperwork, following the paper to a wholesaler, an importer, a producer. We have just begun that process."
Check out the rest of the Texas story here.
Meanwhile, California is taking action. The Press Enterprise reports:
The California Restaurant Association sent an e-mail to its 22,000 members warning them about the tainted tomatoes, spokesman Andrew Casana said.
Jack in the Box temporarily stopped serving tomatoes with all menu items on Wednesday, spokeswoman Kathleen Anthony said.
And the nation’s second largest tomato grower says it cannot be responsible for this outbreak.
Ed Beckman, president of California’s largest tomato cooperative says: "it’s not possible" that members of the cooperative grew the tomatoes suspected of spreading salmonella because tomatoes weren’t harvested in the state until May 15, nearly a month after the salmonella cases were first reported.
See more on California here.
This story is only getting started. With 57 cases in just Texas and New Mexico, where this outbreak was first reported, other cases are turning up in at least nine other states. Canada reports no cases yet, but its keeping an eye on its long southern border. We will continue to be all over this one, both here and on Bill’s blog. That you can be sure of.