December 27, 2004
PITTSBURGH-The Food and Drug Administration says it still hasn’t determined how tomatoes were tainted with salmonella before they sickened at least 429 Sheetz convenience store customers in Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
Hurricane Charley, which hit Florida in August, wiped out some evidence when it struck farms where the tomatoes were grown. Officials believe the tomatoes were likely tainted by animals that came into contact with the fruits at the farm level or in storage sheds.
In Pennsylvania, some 288 cases were linked to the outbreak.
The salmonella outbreak was the second large food-related illness outbreak in western Pennsylvania in as many years. Last fall, at least 660 people were sickened — and at least four deaths were linked to a hepatitis A tainted green onions served at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant in Beaver County.
FDA still unsure how tomatoes were tainted in Sheetz outbreak