Archive for Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tomatoes suspected in salmonella cases

June 4, 2008

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— An outbreak of salmonella food poisoning first linked to uncooked tomatoes has now been reported in Kansas and eight other states, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

Lab tests have confirmed 40 illnesses in Texas and New Mexico as the same type of salmonella, right down to the genetic fingerprint. An investigation by Texas and New Mexico health authorities and the Indian Health Service tied those cases to uncooked, raw, large tomatoes.

At least 17 people in Texas and New Mexico have been hospitalized. None have died, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another 30 people have become sick with the same Salmonella Saintpaul infection in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, Illinois and Indiana. CDC investigators are looking into whether tomatoes were culprits there, too.

In Texas and New Mexico, raw large tomatoes - including Roma and red round tomatoes - were found to be a common factor in the 40 illnesses. But no farm, distributor or grocery chain has been identified as the main source, said Casey Barton Behravesh, a CDC epidemiologist working on the investigation.

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