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Tainted Tomato Scare Hits Florida Hard

Posted on June 20, 2008

If you look at the states listed on the FDA’;s website as the ones from which you can safely buy tomatoes  free from salmonella contamination,  Florida remains the only state broken up by counties.

That’;s because the suspected site of the nationwide contamination — that has so far sickened 552 people in 32 states- is centered in central or south Florida.

Florida was in the middle of harvesting tomatoes when the salmonella outbreak was first identified in Mid-April.

This weekend, FDA inspectors are heading to Florida farms looking for the source of the rare Saintpaul strain of salmonella in tainted tomatoes. A packing house is where many tomatoes from various farms come in and the contamination could be spread.

Florida tomato growers are feeling the pinch. In Mulberry, Florida, East Coast Brokers & Packers have hundreds of boxes of tomatoes just being help in a warehouse. The industry will cost the state hundreds of millions in revenue.

Salmonella sickness includes nausea, vomiting and cramps and diarrhea. The elderly and very young, anyone immune compromised can become serious ill or salmonella can even become fatal if it gets into the blood stream.

Check FDA’;s Web site for an update on how our state is faring.