Soup or salad? Salad, no tomatoes, please
June 10, 2008
The Joplin Health Department is recommending that consumers and retailers follow the latest FDA guidelines concerning the consumption of certain raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes due to the possibility of contamination with Salmonella serotype Saintpaul. The specific type and source of tomatoes is still under investigation by the FDA.

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that causes diarrheal illness that typically lasts from 4 to 7 days. Most people develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after being infected. Most people recover without treatment, but some people may develop a more severe illness that could require hospitalization and treatment. Senior adults, infants and people with impaired immune systems are more likely to develop serious if not fatal illness.

The Joplin Health Department has not been informed of any confirmed cases of Salmonella serotype Saintpaul in Joplin. However, preliminary reports from CDC indicate there has been one case matching the Saintpaul strain in a Missouri resident.

To avoid illness consumers have been advised to limit their consumption to cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and tomatoes grown at home. However, raw red plum, Roma and round red tomatoes harvested from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Texas Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico have been cleared for consumption.

Editor's note: And a late-breaking report allegedly adds tomatoes from Florida to the safe list. The source of the tomatoes responsible for the illnesses in at least 16 states has not been pinpointed...did we not see Mexico in the list?

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