Us salmonella outbreak traced to raw tomatoes

Us salmonella outbreak traced to raw tomatoes

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers in New Mexico and Texas not to eat certain types of raw red tomatoes as they could be contaminated with an uncommon form of Salmonella that is rarely fatal to healthy humans but can cause death in vulnerable people. Reports of illnesses in 7 other states are also being investigated.

The authorities have not yet found the exact source of the outbreak, it could be just a single grower or packer, said the FDA, but preliminary investigations lead them to suspect raw red plum, Roma, or round red tomatoes which could contain the bacteria serotype Saintpaul, an uncommon type of Salmonella.

Their advice is that people in New Mexico and Texas should limit their consumption of tomatoes to those types that have not been involved in the outbreak, these include cherry and grape tomatoes, tomatoes with the vine still attached, and home grown tomatoes.

The contaminated tomatoes are suspected to have caused 57 reported cases of salmonellosis from April 23rd to 1st June in New Mexico and Texas, 17 of which were hospitalized. Another 30 reported cases in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Utah are also being investigated, said the FDA, who are not yet sure if these are linked to tomatoes. So far no deaths have been reported.

Salmonella causes salmonellosis, which is rarely fatal to healthy humans, but can cause death in young children, the frail and elderly, and people with weak immune systems, for instance because they have AIDS or are undergoing chemotherapy.

Symptoms include fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, and last 3 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment, but some get dehydrated and may need to go to hospital. In rare cases the bacteria enters the bloodstream from the intestines and causes severe illness that needs treatment with antibiotics.

If you live in New Mexico or Texas, have recently eaten raw tomatoes or food made with them, and have any of these symptoms you should see your doctor straight away, advises the FDA. Also, all salmonella infections should be reported to the state or local health authority so that they can track outbreaks.

The FDA said its investigators are working with various agencies to track down the source of the outbreak.

Over the last ten years, most outbreaks of foodborne illnesses linked to tomatoes in the US have been traced to product grown on the Eastern shore of Virginia and in Florida; but there have also been outbreaks from tomatoes grown in Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, and California.

Last year the FDA, the state health and agriculture departments of Virginia and Florida, and a number of universities and industry bodies set up the Tomato Safety Initiative to reduce the incidence of tomato-related foodborne illness. It is similar to the Leafy Greens Safety Initiative started in August 2006.

Under the new Initiative, officials are visiting tomato farms and packing facilities in Virginia and Florida to assess safety practices and the extent to which they follow Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).

They will also be assessing water irrigation, wells, how chemicals are mixed, how the farmers deal with droughts and floods, and the nearness of animals to the tomato fields.

Click here for FDA's tomato consumer page.

Click here for more information on salmonellosis (CDC).

Source:FDA, CDC.

Salmonella cases traced to tomatoes (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Disease