June 9, 2008 -- The FDA has broadened its list of tomatoes to avoid because of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 145 people in 16 states since the middle of April.
The FDA and CDC first warned last week of dozens of people in nine states who had gotten sick after eating certain types of raw, red tomatoes.
Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Serious and potentially fatal cases are more likely in young children, frail or elderly people, and people with weak immune systems.
No deaths have been reported in the salmonella tomato outbreak. However, 23 people have been hospitalized with Salmonella Saintpaul, the uncommon type of salmonella at the root of the outbreak.
Salmonella Saintpaul cases have been reported in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
FDA's Tomato Recommendations
Because of the salmonella outbreak, the FDA advises consumers not to eat raw red Roma, raw red plum, and raw red round tomatoes, or products containing those types of tomatoes, unless the tomatoes are from the following places, which have not been linked to the outbreak:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
Not sure where your tomatoes came from? The FDA suggests calling the store where you bought them for that information. The tomato warnings also apply to restaurants.
Not all tomatoes are on the FDA's warning list. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, and home-grown tomatoes haven't been linked to the outbreak, according to the FDA.