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
storm clouds moving across a field
Citrus
February 12, 2016
There’s No Excuse For Farmers To Be Weather Unaware [Opinion]
Studies show if you're not watching the weather, you should be. Read More
John Lawson of Hyrdro Harvest Farms in Ruskin, FL
Berries
February 12, 2016
Central Florida Farm Goes Vertical To Capture ‘Buy Local’ Market
Hydro Harvest Farms in Ruskin has built a loyal following by serving and engaging the community. Read More
Lynn Long talks about what this 2015 UFO Benton on Gisela 3 planting needs to get established at Riveridge Land Company in Sparta, MI, during IFTA 2016.
Fruits
February 11, 2016
Attendees Brave The Cold To Vet Hot Topics At IFTA Conference
Multileader systems, V-trellis systems on tour stops throughout the Ridge growing region in Michigan. Read More
Summer Foley gets crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2015 by 2004 winner Nikki Upthegrove Matthews and reigning Miss Florida Vicotria Cowen
Citrus
February 10, 2016
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2016?
Contestants invited to carry on a time-old industry tradition. Read More
field USDA
Disease Control
February 10, 2016
Broad-Spectrum Fungicide Approved For Specialty Crops In California
Rhyme controls powdery mildew, brown rot blossom blight, and leaf rusts. Read More
A selection of Andean dry beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, from the Andean bean diversity panel.

 

Photo by Stephen Ausmus.
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Pulse Crops Top The List For Research
Scientists are making global contributions by participating in the Feed the Future Grain Legumes Project. Read More
The restoration of this secondary channel of the Napa River was made possible through the Rutherford Reach Restoration Project.
Photo: Gretchen Hayes
Grapes
February 10, 2016
Restoring The Napa River
The Napa River, which has helped create soil perfect for grape-growing in the Napa Valley, is in danger. Fortunately, conscientious Read More
Almond Board of Calif. logo
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Almond Board Working Toward Next-Generation Sustainability Solutions
New sustainability initiatives will bring the almond industry into the 22nd century. Read More
Photo Credit: David Eddy
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Incentives Available For Low-Emission Harvesters 
Almond and walnut growers who use lower-emission harvesting equipment may be eligible for financial incentives. Beginning this year, the USDA Read More
pile of potatoes
Potatoes
February 10, 2016
Potatoes Are More Than A Good Source Of Potassium
Researchers have been investigating the enhancement of oxidative qualities through breeding potato selections that are considerably higher in antioxidants than those currently available. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
February 12, 2016
There’s No Excuse For Farmers To B…
Studies show if you're not watching the weather, you should be. Read More
Berries
February 12, 2016
Central Florida Farm Goes Vertical To Ca…
Hydro Harvest Farms in Ruskin has built a loyal following by serving and engaging the community. Read More
Fruits
February 11, 2016
Attendees Brave The Cold To Vet Hot Topi…
Multileader systems, V-trellis systems on tour stops throughout the Ridge growing region in Michigan. Read More
Citrus
February 10, 2016
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Florida Citrus …
Contestants invited to carry on a time-old industry tradition. Read More
Disease Control
February 10, 2016
Broad-Spectrum Fungicide Approved For Sp…
Rhyme controls powdery mildew, brown rot blossom blight, and leaf rusts. Read More
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Pulse Crops Top The List For Research
Scientists are making global contributions by participating in the Feed the Future Grain Legumes Project. Read More
Grapes
February 10, 2016
Restoring The Napa River
The Napa River, which has helped create soil perfect for grape-growing in the Napa Valley, is in danger. Fortunately, conscientious Read More
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Almond Board Working Toward Next-Generat…
New sustainability initiatives will bring the almond industry into the 22nd century. Read More
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Incentives Available For Low-Emission Ha…
Almond and walnut growers who use lower-emission harvesting equipment may be eligible for financial incentives. Beginning this year, the USDA Read More
Potatoes
February 10, 2016
Potatoes Are More Than A Good Source Of …
Researchers have been investigating the enhancement of oxidative qualities through breeding potato selections that are considerably higher in antioxidants than those currently available. Read More
Equipment
February 10, 2016
Get Your Sprayer Ready For Spring
Cleaning equipment, checking for damages, and ensuring proper calibration should be standard procedure before the season begins. Read More
Crop Protection
February 10, 2016
Bayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Insecti…
Company seeks to stop agency’s proposed cancellation of flubendiamide. Read More
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Vegetable Production: A Lesson In Sustai…
Thanks to the efforts of those producing vegetables, we have an abundance of healthy food options. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
February 9, 2016
University Of Florida Research Receives …
A big chunk of the federal funding will focus on growing the bacterium in a lab. Read More
Citrus
February 9, 2016
Revised Forecast Yields Small Victory Fo…
Updated USDA estimate holds serve again; hasn’t dipped since December. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 9, 2016
State Of The Fruit Industry 2016 [VIDEO]
According to an national poll of fruit growers, fruit industry suppliers, and researchers, the market is poised for growth in Read More
Crop Protection
February 9, 2016
Biopesticides And IPM
Dr. Surendra Dara, Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor and Affiliated IPM Advisor with University of California Cooperative Extension, has long Read More
Fruits
February 8, 2016
Precision Fruit Growing, Business Manage…
American Fruit Grower magazine managing editor Christina Herrick posts her updates from the 59th annual gathering. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]