Now it’s been two weeks and a day since the Centers For Disease Control called up the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to report that we have a problem with tomatoes.
Instead of quickly being able to come up with the area growing the tomatoes tainted with the deadly Salmonella Saintpaul bacteria, FDA has been dribbling out a list of areas NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THE OUTBREAK.
Today, the first piece of old Mexico was added to that "safe" list in the form of "Baja California (Norte)"
That would be Northern Baja California, as marked on the map, for those of you who would prefer our government keeps giving us vital information in the King’s English.
FDA says: "Product lots of tomatoes harvested in this State in Mexico are allowed export into the U.S. with a certificate issued by the Secretaria de Fomento Agropecuario del Gobierno del Estado de Baja California (Agency)."
We think that last part has to do with getting a paper signed by the local Mexican agriculture official.
Just ahead of this piece of old Mexico, New Mexico and Indiana were added to the safe list.
If you do not know where the tomatoes in your store or local drive thru fast food joint are grown, FDA says you should ask around. If everybody is clueless, like FDA, you should not risk eating tomatoes. Got it?
Our count of states with 333 confirmed cases of Salmonella saintpaul from tainted tomatoes stands at 25 plus the District of Columbia. Health experts figure for every confirmed case of Salmonella, another 40 gut it out at home without seeing a doctor. That would mean, this outbreak has in all probability made at least 13,320 people sick so far.
We continue below with the official update from FDA:
June 14, 2008: At this time, FDA recommends consuming raw red plum, raw red Roma, or raw red round tomatoes only if grown and harvested from the following areas that HAVE NOT BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH THE OUTBREAK:
Florida (counties of: Jackson, Gadsden, Leon, Jefferson, Madison, Suwannee, Hamilton, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, Hardee, DeSoto, Sarasota, Highlands, Pasco, Sumter, Citrus, Hernando, Charlotte)*
New Mexico New!
Baja California (Norte) ** New!
* Shipments of tomatoes harvested in these counties are acceptable with a certificate issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
** Product lots of tomatoes harvested in this State in Mexico are allowed export into the U.S. with a certificate issued by the Secretaria de Fomento Agropecuario del Gobierno del Estado de Baja California (Agency).
Consumers who are unsure of where the tomatoes are from that they have in their home are encouraged to contact the store or place of purchase for that information. If consumers are unable to determine the source of the tomatoes, they should not be eaten.
Consumers should also be aware that raw tomatoes are often used in the preparation of fresh salsa, guacamole, and pico de gallo, are part of fillings for tortillas, and are used in other dishes.