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Tomatoes Released on Bail
Get out a fresh slice of bread, make your homemade spaghetti sauce and slice up some mozzarella because tomatoes are finally in the clear again! Health officials said Thursday that it is AOK to munch on the red fruit again after a noticeable decline in the salmonella outbreak.
But cancel your salsa plans because hot peppers are still under investigation, leaving your dish not-so-spicy with fresh jalapenos and serranos on the blacklist. Cilantro is also a suspect.
The cause of the outbreak is still unclear, even after about three months of searching for clues. The outbreak has caused 1,220 people in 42 states to fall ill.
This news will come as a relief to farmers who have suffered about a $100 million loss as a result. They have been warned, however, that tomatoes harvested in the spring have not been deemed as safe.
Investigators originally thought they were on the right trail, visiting farms in areas thought to be the source of the outbreak, such as south Florida and parts of Mexico. But when tomatoes were cleared in that area, health officials began to consider other culprits; specifically, ones that are often paired with tomatoes. The suspects: jalapenos and cilantro.
The latest statistics show between June 11 and June 20, the number of people who fell ill decreased to about 19 people per day, down from about 33 in April and mid-May. It takes about two weeks for health departments to gather whether or not someone actually has salmonella poisoning. But the CDC estimates that for every one case they confirm, another 30 to 40 go undocumented because people don’t visit a doctor or endure the necessary tests.
As for answers to the outbreak, it seems as thought the wait will continue. For now, enjoy your tomatoes! [MSNBC]