If you missed our first post about the tomato recall, you might want to check it out before reading this. We are adding some more of the factual information about the recall, for those wanting to know more specifics, since a bit more has come to light. (And, by the way, the best way to avoid this recall is to visit your local farmer's market and buy your tomatoes from there! If you live in the north, like we do, they will still be greenhouse tomatoes, but as long as they are grown by a local farmer, you should be safe. Check out LocalHarvest.org to find a farmer's market near you- they should be in full swing by now!)
(The following information is being summarized from an Associated Press article dated June 10, 2008.)
It seems that the source of the salmonella outbreak has yet to be identified. the latest report I've heard is that 167 people have contracted the unusual strain of salmonella known as "Salmonella Saintpaul", with at least 23 of them being hospitalized. One man with the bacterial infection has died, but the official cause is being labeled as cancer, with salmonella infection as a contributing factor.
The recall is for the following types of tomatoes: red plum, red Roma or round red tomatoes, unless they were grown in certain states and countries. Tomatoes from the following states and countries are NOT being affected by the recall: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, Netherlands and Puerto Rico.
Federal officials believe that cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and homegrown tomatoes are likely not the source of the outbreak. If you know someone that grows their own tomatoes, great! Eat those! If you can find a local farmer at a farmer's market, there you go! it seems that since the tomatoes in question have been affecting major supermarket and restaurant chains, they are coming from a large, commercial agribusiness-type farm. That's of course my own speculation, but it seems such widespread contamination would not occur unless it were the case.
But, yes, the truth is that as of today, no one seems to know for sure where the outbreak is coming from. Think organic, people! I'm willing to bet that it's most definitely not from an organic farm.
And, while I've got you here reading, I'm going to throw something at you that we organic farmers (and, frankly, every person I know) are very concerned about. It seems pesticide giant Monsanto is trying to pull a fast one again. "Bowing to pressure from Monsanto and the agro-toxics industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced May 21 that it plans to eliminate pesticide reporting at the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)", which would mean that we, the public, would no longer have a right to know how many or what kinds of chemicals are being sprayed on our foods and land. CLICK HERE to take action through the Organic Consumers Association against this dangerous move!
(BTW, if you're wondering why Monsanto would want to do that, here's a hint: Monsanto owns Round-up, and the patents for their new geneticallly-engineered breed of "Round-up Ready" (resistant to Round-up) corn, which means that farmers can now spray one of the most toxic chemicals that is still legal all over their fields, in quantities never imagined possible. Think cancer, PCB poisoning, respiratory illness, skin diseases, breastmilk contamination, and more. Want to know more? Check out our post "The World According to Monsanto".