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Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
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Florida Farms Battling Reports of Increased Salmonella Cases

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While the Food and Drug Administration continues its investigation into the outbreak of Salmonella cases related to tomatoes, Florida farmers are increasingly losing money due to a lack of demand. According to the Miami Herald, the FDA has cleared all Florida counties currently producing tomatoes that would be in your market today as “safe to eat”.

Yet the public does not seem not buying it, not yet anyway. And who can blame them when the number of confirmed cases has risen to 556 and the most recent victim reported getting sick less than two weeks ago on June 10th.

The FDA doesn’t know the source and admits it might not be the farm, but could be from somewhere along the distribution chain. So while the FDA has cleared the current production coming from Florida farmers, the tomatoes could be contaminated somewhere between the field and your neighborhood grocer.

According to Liz Compton, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, ”Consumers need to know that tomatoes currently available from Florida are completely exonerated of being the source of the outbreak.” And the FDA continues to warn all U.S. consumers to stay away from eating raw plum, Roma and round tomatoes “unless they were grown in specific states or countries that FDA has cleared of suspicion.” But I’m not sure how they can comfortable saying that when they also were reported as having said

”A tomato that made somebody sick in Vermont has come a long way.” “A lot of suppliers and warehouses have potentially handled that tomato. . . . It could be anywhere on that distribution chain where all these tomatoes were together at one point.” So what’s a consumer to do? I don’t know – maybe sticking to the grape and cherry tomato varieties, or those on the vine are your best bet since those have been cleared from day one of the outbreak.