Salmonella Linked To Tomatoes Eaten In Restaurants


A study just released last week by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows food poisoning associated with tomatoes that were eaten in restaurants.

Arkansas and Missouri are both included in this report, although there are no specifics as to which actual restaurants had the contaminated food.

The same report shows 20,000 reported cases of food-borne illness in the US in 2006.

The culprit in 500 of those cases was the tomato.

It begs the question ... How can we be sure what we're eating won't land us in the hospital?

"We should all be cooking our food well," said infectious disease specialist, Dr. Carl J. Abraham, Jr. "There's no way to guarantee that food is not contaminated."

The most recent outbreak of Salmonella in restaurants arose from tomatoes that were supplied to restaurants either whole or pre-cut.

At Piero's Restaurant in Jonesboro, the staff doesn't use the pre-cut variety.

"We don't pre-cut anything," said Piero Triarchi. "We think that some of the cause of the bacteria, or salmonella is affecting some of the tomatoes, especially right now. If the tomatoes are kept in the refrigerator where they are supposed to be and they are sliced with clean knives on a clean board, then there is no problem."

What can you do to make sure your tomatoes, or any fruit or vegetable for that matter, is safe from contamination?

"Rinsing your fruits and vegetables with water is, I think, the least that you should be doing," said Dr. Abraham.

Salmonella infections can be transmitted through various foods and cause an estimated 1.4 million illnesses and 400 deaths annually in the United States.

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