Arkansas Tomato Growers Get Boost from Mexican Woes

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas tomato growers say they are getting a boost in sales following the salmonella outbreak.

Arkansas is the nation's 16th-largest tomato producer.  Growers were hurt badly by a freeze last year, and then severe weather the following July contributed to crop losses.  Most Arkansas tomatoes are grown in Ashley, Bradley and Drew counties, where growers say business is brisk.

Wholesalers say prices are up from $15 to $20 for a 20-pound box of Arkansas tomatoes.  But growers also say that the market could take another turn once affected tomatoes from Mexico are again approved for sale in the U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers against three types of raw tomatoes that have sickened 228 people in 23 states since mid-April.

The FDA says tomatoes from Mexico and several counties in Florida are under suspicion.

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