No reports of tainted tomatoes in Siskiyou

Will Duggan

The FDA issued warnings last week to consumers against eating raw red plum, red Roma and red round tomatoes due to the threat of salmonella. and California State authorities followed with similar alerts and guidelines to minimize the chance of people contracting the illness.

Siskiyou County Health Department officials stated that there have been no reported incidents related to tainted tomatoes to date in the area.

“At this point abiding by the FDA and State recommendations is all that can be done  given the circumstances. We always stress proper hygiene when dealing with food at every step of production and preparation from source to plate,” said Deena Elinson of the Siskiyou County Environmental Department. “We’re monitoring the situation closely, but so far there haven’t been any problems that we know of.”

Federal health officials are still trying to detect the source of the contaminated tomatoes. The outbreak of salmonella has sickened nearly 200 people in 17 states.

Mike Thompson, operations manager at General Produce in Mount Shasta, said, “We have pulled all the tomatoes on the FDA recommended list. None of them are going out to our customers and we’ll likely have to dump them. The situation is affecting our business but we aren’t going to take any chances until the issues are resolved.”

At Ray’s Food Place all suspected tomatoes were pulled from the shelf and signs were posted in the produce department advising customers of the situation.

The FDA recommends that consumers who are unsure of where their tomatoes are coming from should contact the store or other place of purchase for information. If the source of the tomatoes can’t be determined to be safe from possible contamination they should not be eaten.

Consumers need to also be aware that raw tomatoes are often used in the preparation of fresh salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo and are used in the fillings of many other dishes.

More of this story is available in the June 18, 2008 editions of the Mt. Shasta Herald, Dunsmuir News and Weed Press