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 rogordon@meistermedia.com.
 

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

ProductionDrought Forcing California Growers To Rely On Groundwater
October 31, 2014
While the state issues curtailments to those with junior rights, growers are increasingly relying on groundwater to irrigate their crop. Read More
Crop ProtectionThe Unlikely Parallel Between Human And Plant Health
October 31, 2014
One of the notable national developments in the summer of 2014 was the unexpected occurrence of serious respiratory infections in Read More
VegetablesWhy You Should Be Trialing New Vegetable Varieties
October 31, 2014
Selecting high-performing selections is no easy task. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Growers Sue State Over Drought
October 30, 2014
They claim the State Water Resources Control Board illegally denied water deliveries. Read More
CucurbitsNew Watermelon Planting Program For The Southeast U.S.
October 30, 2014
Sakata seeking to make regional impact by providing in-demand material through several local producers. Read More
Leafy Vegetables3 Can’t-Miss Cabbage Varieties For Florida Growers
October 30, 2014
Reed's Seeds highlights a trio of high-performance selections for Sunshine State producers. Read More
Insect ControlTake Control Of Thrips In Your Greenhouse
October 30, 2014
Why such a foreboding title? Thrips, one of the tiniest pests of greenhouse crops, are the carrier of one of Read More
BerriesManage Black Root Rot Of Strawberry
October 30, 2014
Controls include preplant nematode analysis, three-to-five year crop rotations, and more. Read More
FruitsSexual Evolution May Bear More Fruit In The Orchard
October 30, 2014
Scientists take a closer look at genes and find new plant breeding possibilities. Read More
Apples & PearsWashington Apples To Restart Shipments To China
October 29, 2014
Agreement reached between U.S. and Chinese governments to reinstate market access after two-year absence. Read More

The Latest

ProductionDrought Forcing California Growers To Rely On Groundwat…
October 31, 2014
While the state issues curtailments to those with junior rights, growers are increasingly relying on groundwater to irrigate their crop. Read More
Crop ProtectionThe Unlikely Parallel Between Human And Plant Health
October 31, 2014
One of the notable national developments in the summer of 2014 was the unexpected occurrence of serious respiratory infections in Read More
VegetablesWhy You Should Be Trialing New Vegetable Varieties
October 31, 2014
Selecting high-performing selections is no easy task. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Growers Sue State Over Drought
October 30, 2014
They claim the State Water Resources Control Board illegally denied water deliveries. Read More
CucurbitsNew Watermelon Planting Program For The Southeast U.S.
October 30, 2014
Sakata seeking to make regional impact by providing in-demand material through several local producers. Read More
Leafy Vegetables3 Can’t-Miss Cabbage Varieties For Florida Grower…
October 30, 2014
Reed's Seeds highlights a trio of high-performance selections for Sunshine State producers. Read More
Insect ControlTake Control Of Thrips In Your Greenhouse
October 30, 2014
Why such a foreboding title? Thrips, one of the tiniest pests of greenhouse crops, are the carrier of one of Read More
BerriesManage Black Root Rot Of Strawberry
October 30, 2014
Controls include preplant nematode analysis, three-to-five year crop rotations, and more. Read More
FruitsSexual Evolution May Bear More Fruit In The Orchard
October 30, 2014
Scientists take a closer look at genes and find new plant breeding possibilities. Read More
Apples & PearsWashington Apples To Restart Shipments To China
October 29, 2014
Agreement reached between U.S. and Chinese governments to reinstate market access after two-year absence. Read More
EquipmentEnter To Win A Kubota At The Washington State Horticult…
October 29, 2014
Attendees have a chance to take home a new utility vehicle courtesy of Wilbur-Ellis and Western Fruit Grower. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
The funds will go toward helping growers implement conservation practices to improve honey bee health. Read More
FruitsHuge California Drought Meeting Planned
October 29, 2014
State, federal officials to meet as forecasts for the coming year look bleak. Read More
PotatoesNew CEO At Black Gold Farms, A Top 100 Grower
October 28, 2014
Eric Halverson takes the reins at the potato operation, while his father Gregg will remain president of the farm’s board of directors. Read More
FruitsValent U.S.A., MGK Enter Into Marketing Agreement
October 28, 2014
Valent U.S.A. to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products beginning in April 2015. Read More
VegetablesMultistate Land-Grant University Research Project Contr…
October 28, 2014
The project began in the 1970s as a Regional Initiative and has since expanded Internationally. Read More
FruitsMichigan State Offers Online Database Of Tree Fruit Dis…
October 28, 2014
Search engine helps growers identify several issues in the orchard. Read More
Stone FruitStudy Examines How To Keep Sweet Cherries Fresh
October 28, 2014
Canadian researcher says cooling of sweet cherries is key to delivering a quality product. Read More