The Trouble With Tomatoes

The Trouble With Tomatoes

Tomatoes are in trouble. This delicious fruit that makes a salad look more appealing and adds a little extra to a hamburger is on the defense. As most know, last month the story broke that tomatoes contaminated with Salmonella saintpaul made their way into the marketplace and sickened people in numerous states.

FDA warned consumers across the country that the outbreak of illness was associated with certain raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes. At press time, reports indicated that more than 277 people had confirmed cases of Salmonella.

FDA got the word out, telling consumers not to eat those specific types of tomatoes, or products that contain those types of the fruit unless the tomatoes were from places on FDA’s list. (The list is available at www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html#retailers.)

The trickle-down effect hit the foodservice industry hard as McDonald’s and other restaurant and grocery chains in various parts of the country stopped selling certain tomatoes. I don’t know about you, but my thoughts immediately turned to the 2006 foodborne illness outbreak in spinach.

Obviously, a foodborne illness outbreak isn’t an easy problem to solve, but while the clock is ticking as investigators work diligently to determine the culprit, tomato growers are feeling the hit. The tomato market in Florida, the largest tomato-producing state, was on the verge of collapse. Thankfully, in the 11th hour, FDA gave the go-ahead to sell tomatoes harvested in 19 Florida counties.

What makes this outbreak different from the spinach problem two years ago is that the spinach was packed in bags marked with UPC codes, allowing investigators to trace back the bags. Generally, tomatoes aren’t sold that way, making the investigation that much more difficult.

Country of Origin Labeling for produce is on the way this year and the U.S. will not be exempt. The question is, will a USA sticker help solve a problem like this or not? Let me know what you think. One thing is for sure: Tomato growers need to work together to restore consumer confidence in tomatoes.  

Too Much Heat

Another hot topic (no pun intended) is global warming. Lots of talk is taking place from both camps: those who say global warming will soon cause us harm and those who say it isn’t a crisis situation. 

Last month in our e-newsletter, “VegWire Online,” we ran a poll, asking readers if they thought global warming is a real threat. The results were rather interesting. (See Reader Poll Results, page 6.) We also received feedback that can be read on our Web site (www.americanvegetablegrower.com, and click on Bonus Coverage).

Let me know if you agree or disagree with the results. Send an e-mail to [email protected].
 

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Pest Control
March 22, 2017
Fear of GMOs is Impacting Quality Food Research [Opinion]
Perhaps the greatest threat to our industry is a public that values instinctual opinion over careful research and the findings of experts who have dedicated years to their field of study. Read More
Business Planning
March 22, 2017
How HortTech Is Solving Grower Challenges
Dozens of tech companies are looking for solutions to real-world problems vegetable growers face. We take a look at what it could really mean for you and your business. Read More
Production
March 22, 2017
Weighing the Good and Bad of Six Soilless Media Options
Trying to decide which growing media is the right one for your greenhouse vegetable production? Take a look at these six options. Read More
Citrus
March 21, 2017
Industry Groups, Ag Leaders React to Proposed USDA, EPA Budget Cuts
New plan would slash USDA spending by 21%. Read More
Freeze protected peach trees in Florida
Cold Protection
March 21, 2017
Freezing Temperatures Hit South Carolina Crops Hard
Peaches, blueberries, and strawberries among crops damaged. Read More
fork digging into a plate full of salad
Citrus
March 21, 2017
Since When Did Eating Get So Complicated? [Opinion]
The bottom line to all this is the way we eat is undergoing massive disruption. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 21, 2017
Two More Lost Apple Varieties Found In Steptoe Butte
Amateur apple detective strikes again with two more finds in abandoned orchards near state park. Read More
Generic produce clamshell packaging
GenNext Growers
March 20, 2017
Packaging: A Powerful Way for Farmers to Reach Consumers
Growers have few opportunities to communicate with end users. Paying mind to what’s on the outside can help sell a lot of what’s inside. Read More
Organic potato grower staring at his crops
Crop Protection
March 20, 2017
Biologicals Gaining Acceptance Among More Growers
Driven by new innovation and consumer demand, growers look to the biocontrol sector for new solutions. Read More
Alternaria leaf and pod spot of snap bean
Disease Control
March 17, 2017
Prevent Alternaria from Putting Your Snap Beans on the Spot
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable disease. Read More
Cranes at the Port Tampa Bay
Farm Management
March 17, 2017
Unfair Trade Taking Its Toll on Florida Farmers
Local grower community hopeful over President Trump’s announced intention to renegotiate NAFTA. Read More
Swadesh Santra of UCF
Citrus
March 16, 2017
UCF Stepping up to Be Farming’s Knight in Shining Armor
Hopes are high that the school's new agriculture research center will help growers solve production issues and feed the globe. Read More
A.H. Whitmore Farm in Leesburg, FL, as seen from Google Earth
Varieties & Rootstocks
March 16, 2017
Experimental Citrus Groves Disappearing in Florida
Challenges to growth expand as vital research is in dire need of a home. Read More
Frozen blueberries
Berries
March 15, 2017
Arctic Blast Gives Southern Fruit Growers the Chills
Peaches and berries in bloom most at risk from freezing temperatures. Read More
GenNext Growers
March 15, 2017
Introducing Technology, Farm Transitions among Topics at IFTA Young Grower Reception
Event brought together the next generation of tree fruit growers and young professionals in the industry. Read More
The Latest
Pest Control
March 22, 2017
Fear of GMOs is Impacting Quality Food R…
Perhaps the greatest threat to our industry is a public that values instinctual opinion over careful research and the findings of experts who have dedicated years to their field of study. Read More
Business Planning
March 22, 2017
How HortTech Is Solving Grower Challenge…
Dozens of tech companies are looking for solutions to real-world problems vegetable growers face. We take a look at what it could really mean for you and your business. Read More
Production
March 22, 2017
Weighing the Good and Bad of Six Soilles…
Trying to decide which growing media is the right one for your greenhouse vegetable production? Take a look at these six options. Read More
Citrus
March 21, 2017
Industry Groups, Ag Leaders React to Pro…
New plan would slash USDA spending by 21%. Read More
Cold Protection
March 21, 2017
Freezing Temperatures Hit South Carolina…
Peaches, blueberries, and strawberries among crops damaged. Read More
Citrus
March 21, 2017
Since When Did Eating Get So Complicated…
The bottom line to all this is the way we eat is undergoing massive disruption. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 21, 2017
Two More Lost Apple Varieties Found In S…
Amateur apple detective strikes again with two more finds in abandoned orchards near state park. Read More
GenNext Growers
March 20, 2017
Packaging: A Powerful Way for Farmers to…
Growers have few opportunities to communicate with end users. Paying mind to what’s on the outside can help sell a lot of what’s inside. Read More
Crop Protection
March 20, 2017
Biologicals Gaining Acceptance Among Mor…
Driven by new innovation and consumer demand, growers look to the biocontrol sector for new solutions. Read More
Disease Control
March 17, 2017
Prevent Alternaria from Putting Your Sna…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable disease. Read More
Farm Management
March 17, 2017
Unfair Trade Taking Its Toll on Florida …
Local grower community hopeful over President Trump’s announced intention to renegotiate NAFTA. Read More
Citrus
March 16, 2017
UCF Stepping up to Be Farming’s Kn…
Hopes are high that the school's new agriculture research center will help growers solve production issues and feed the globe. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
March 16, 2017
Experimental Citrus Groves Disappearing …
Challenges to growth expand as vital research is in dire need of a home. Read More
Berries
March 15, 2017
Arctic Blast Gives Southern Fruit Grower…
Peaches and berries in bloom most at risk from freezing temperatures. Read More
GenNext Growers
March 15, 2017
Introducing Technology, Farm Transitions…
Event brought together the next generation of tree fruit growers and young professionals in the industry. Read More
Citrus
March 15, 2017
Group Wants To Streamline Food Safety Re…
There are 15 federal agencies implement more than 30 different food safety statutes. A team of experts believe they have a solution. Read More
Marketing
March 15, 2017
Florida Peaches Scoring Points with Cons…
Snack-sized fruit presents unique marketing opportunity for growers. Read More
Nuts
March 15, 2017
Efforts to Thwart Nut Thefts Ramping up …
Ordinance revisions to end cash sales, include a 10-day hold on payments. Read More