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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Salmonella Tainted Tomatoes Home Grown Not Imported Has Sickened 552 people in 32 States

UPDATE – Just got an email that said Mexico may still be in the hunt.

I can hear Lou Dobbs sobbing now, but the Cox News Service has confirmed that the salmonella-tainted tomatoes did NOT come from Mexico. They came from Florida. From the interview of Dr. David Acheson:

The epidemiological investigation has narrowed the problem to raw red plum, red Roma or red round tomatoes. And the evidence suggests the tainted fruit came from Florida, where farmers were harvesting when the earliest known victim fell ill on April 10.

Florida "fits with the time frame," and investigators have not found evidence that could rule out the state, David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration’s associate commissioner for foods, said Thursday in a conference call with reporters.

He said contrary to some earlier reports, he knows of no evidence showing tainted fruit came from Mexico.

The CDC as also recently confirmed that 552 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 32 states and the District of Columbia. These were identified because clinical laboratories in all states send Salmonella strains from ill persons to their State public health laboratory for characterization. The marked increase in reported ill persons since the last update is not thought to be due to a large number of new infections. The number of reported ill persons increased mainly because some states improved surveillance for Salmonella in response to this outbreak and because laboratory identification of many previously submitted strains was completed. In particular, the number of ill persons reported from Texas markedly increased, and two new states, New Jersey and Rhode Island, reported ill persons. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arkansas (3 persons), Arizona (29), California (8), Colorado (4), Connecticut (4), Florida (1), Georgia (11), Idaho (3), Illinois (34), Indiana (8), Kansas (9), Kentucky (1), Maryland (18), Michigan (4), Missouri (10), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (73), New York (10), North Carolina (1), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (5), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (5), Rhode Island (2), Tennessee (4), Texas (265), Utah (2), Virginia (20), Vermont (1), Washington (1), Wisconsin (5), and the District of Columbia (1). Among the 281 persons with information available, illnesses began between April 10 and June 10, 2008. Patients range in age from <1 to 88 years; 49% are female. At least 53 persons were hospitalized. No deaths have been officially attributed to this outbreak. However, a man in his sixties who died in Texas from cancer had an infection with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul at the time of his death. The infection may have contributed to his death.