All types of fresh tomatoes are safe to eat, federal health officials said yesterday, lifting a six-week-old warning that led restaurants to pull them and triggered tens of millions of dollars in losses for the tomato industry.
Officials with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still do not know the source of the salmonella that set off the largest outbreak of foodborne illness in a decade. They blame raw jalapeño peppers for some of the cases and have dispatched investigators to a pepper packer in Mexico. Last week, they recommended that the elderly, infants and people with compromised immune systems avoid eating jalapeños as well as serrano peppers.
A total of 1,220 people in the United States and Canada have been sickened since April by Salmonella saintpaul, an unusual strain. While new reports of illness are still coming in, the number of cases appears to be dropping off, after peaking during the last few days of May and the first week of June, the CDC said.