U.S. tomato growers have been dragged through the mud over this latest foodborne illness outbreak. The result was numerous tomatoes were removed from supermarkets, salad bars, and restaurants, greatly impacting tomato growers. This Salmonella outbreak has sickened more than 850 people in 36 states, and now questions are being raised about the source of the outbreak. FDA has broadened its investigation from tomatoes to include other produce that might be eaten with tomatoes.
Western Growers and the Consumers Union have urged Congress to take action. Specifically, Western Growers asked the House Committee on Agriculture to hold hearings on the Salmonella outbreak. According to Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, the grower group would like to see the House Committee on Agriculture working with them to balance the goals of protecting public health and agricultural economies.
The Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, has called on Congress to mandate traceability for fruits and vegetables and for FDA to establish strong safety standards for produce.
Because FDA and the CDC have not been able to determine the source of this outbreak, how are tomato growers dealing with the situation? Are you able to sell your produce?