So, We're Probably Never Going To Know Where The Salmonella Came From

The FDA still has no real idea where those salmonella tomatoes came from. They suspect both Mexico and Florida, but as you may have noticed: Florida and Mexico are kind of big. And there’s no real evidence aside from a guess by the FDA based on the “time frame” of the outbreak matching up with the harvest in those locations.

David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration’s associate commissioner for foods says that Florida “fits with the time frame” of the outbreak, and “the trace-back continues, but we still have not identified a specific source of the outbreak.” FDA investigators have still not begun testing farms because “we don’t know yet where to send them,” Acheson told reporters.

Meanwhile, Guanabee has a fun clip of Lou Dobbs acting shocked by the incompetance of the FDA, and CDC has confirmed that the total of number of people who have gotten sick now stands at 552, across 32 states. We’re not shocked that the FDA can’t locate the source of the salmonella, but that’s only because we already knew that the FDA was broken.

FDA: Source of tainted tomatoes may never be uncovered [AJC]
Salmonella Tomatoes: Nobody Knows WTF Is Going On, Least Of All The FDA [Guanabee]
(Photo: The Joy Of The Mundane )


Edit Your Comment

  1. jpdanzig says:

    Yet more evidence of relentless underperformance by Team Bush.


  2. SkyeBlue says:

    When are we going to stop acting surprised by these kind of things and finally admit that these government agencies are not there to protect the consumers but are there to protect the large companies that pay the large bribes and give the large gifts to the heads of these agencies?

    Team Bush? They still have about 7 months or so left to do so much more damage to our country. I wonder if we are ever going to be able to recover? how did we go from being one of the greatest countries in the world to where we are now in such a short time?


  3. Jbball says:

    Must be the terrorists fault..

  4. Bladefist says:

    @SkyeBlue: lol now you’re blaming Bush for the tomatoes. Priceless.

  5. lordargent says:

    So, We’re Probably Never Going To Know Where The Salmonella Came From


    “Salmonella is a Gram-negative bacterium. It is found in many turtles and other reptiles.”. []

  6. TheUncleBob says:

    “Team Bush”?

    Current FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach was selected by the current president, yes, but the FDA Commissioner has to be approved by the Senate, which is currently under the control of the Democratic party, with 49 Democrats and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats.

    “Team Bush” indeed.

  7. SahuaritaSam says:

    Eat greenhouse tomatoes. They are safe. Forget about the rest of this mess. Eurofresh tomatoes can be found at every Costco across America – they’re safe.

    Costco should pay me for that plug.

  8. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @TheUncleBob: Approved does not mean picked by. If Bush only picks bad people, the senate is going to either have to approve a bad person or leaved the job empty. And there are always going to be those boarder line cases where you cannot prove someone will be bad. So as long as the president only picks his unqualified cronies, the senate is basically going to end up approving one of them. And that of course is the presidents strategy anyways. Pick someone really bad that will be denied, than pick someone half bad to sneak him through.

  9. MisterE says:

    The outbreak came from illegal aliens working in the farms and shitting in them.

  10. TheUncleBob says:

    @Concerned_Citizen: The system of checks and balances is there for a reason – if the Senate confirms a bad appointment, they’re just as guilty. “Go Team US Government!”

  11. lalaland13 says:

    @MisterE: The worker was going to use the bathroom, but the nearest place was a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and employees said no.

    (Yes, I’m being facetious).

  12. LordieLordie says:

    just keep it in perspective. There are about 40,000 cases of Salmonella a year in the US. The majority of people get it and don’t even know it is Salmonella..
    Not sure why this tomato case makes so much news. Maybe because it was originally thought to originate from a fast food chain..

  13. timmus says:

    The outbreak came from illegal aliens working in the farms and shitting in them.

    I think that’s actually a viable explanation… either that or there were meat products being stored above the veggies on the transport trucks. I can damn well assure you we’re only buying U.S. produced organic vegetables in this household… it may not help much, but the odds of it coming up on some nasty truck from Nuevo Laredo are not as high.

  14. timmus says:

    @LordieLordie: Salmonella is a fecal bacteria. I wouldn’t think much about it either if it were chicken or tuna, but we’re talking tomatoes here.

  15. Doug81 says:

    The 109th Congress which confirmed Andrew von Eschenbach was a Republican majority.

    Vote summary: []
    Info on 109th []

  16. B says:

    @lordargent: Turtles. I knew it was the turtles. Even when it was the bears, I knew it was the turtles.

  17. Doug81 says:

    @lordargent: & @B: I like turtles!

  18. TheUncleBob says:

    @Doug81: Woah, you’re right.

    But, to point out, 40 Republicans voted “yay” and 40 Democrats voted “yay”. So, von Eschenbach was put into office by a total of 41 Republicans (40 Senate Members + 1 President) and 40 Democrats.

    This whole thing gets blamed on “Team Bush” because of one person?

    Oh, and look who voted “yay”: Obama (D-IL), Clinton (D-NY).

    Go Team US Government!

  19. Bladefist says:

    @TheUncleBob: Not that I want to defend Obama, but he was probably just really confused.

    He didn’t realize he had to actually know stuff.

  20. synergy says:

    @MisterE: Coming from a family of people who picked a lot of tomatoes and other foods, it is possible. Mainly because there were no bathrooms and workers are pushed to work around the clock with no bathroom breaks. But hey working shitty jobs paved the way for my generation to not work shitty jobs and some of us actually got to go to college, so.

    @LordieLordie: You’re right. People get these infections and it’s rarely a problem. I don’t know why it is now.

  21. synergy says:

    The FDA, USDA, and all the other alphabet soups that supposedly are there to care for citizens have been ineffective and had any teeth removed long ago, long before the current politics.

  22. Doug81 says:

    @TheUncleBob: Yeah, I wasn’t trying to push an agenda or anything just pointing that out. We’ve got crappy politicians all over the place in both parties. Also, wasn’t Andrew von Eschenbach a temp?

  23. It tickles me that there a folks on this web site who instantly (first comment for this article) have to attribute every single problem in the country to George W Bush, showing us that they’re not only unhealthily obsessed with the man, but also quite ignorant of the actual division of responsibility in our government. I suppose this to be expected, however, if your worldview is built around the notion that an all-powerful government should be responsible for the upkeep of every area of the economy, education, personal life, etc. I’m not a huge fan of the President’s domestic policies, but the last thing that would occur to me when I read about this tomato issue would be “It’s Bush’s fault”.

  24. ElizabethD says:

    Ugh, I just realized the $1.00 Whopper Junior I ate for lunch had a big slice of pinkish-red tomato on it. ::braces self::

  25. Doug81 says:

    @ElizabethD: Maybe you won’t have a story for the Consumerist tomorrow.

  26. Doug81 says:

    @Doug81: A bad one about Burger King anyway.

  27. HeartBurnKid says:

    @Bladefist: Did this stuff happen under Clinton? Bush I? Reagan? Nixon? Any other president since the FDA was founded?

    I know that correlation != causation and all, but given the way that Bush has been all about looking the other way when his donors tell him to, this certainly seems to be the fruits of his administration.

  28. TheUncleBob says:

    @Doug81: I think we both have the same “agenda”, pointing out that “we’ve got crappy politicians all over the place in both parties.” ;)
    To blame this on “Team Bush” is pretty narrow-viewed.

  29. ChuckECheese says:

    In late May, I got violently ill after eating at a Taco Bell in El Paso–vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and fever that lasted over 2 days. I reported it to the local restaurant, but never heard anything from them. Within days the tomatonella stories were in the media, with one of the originally identified outbreak areas being West Texas. I haven’t had food poisoning in years (due to maigre de canard, which I’ll never eat again), so this is a rare thing for me.

    According to stories I’d read, several of the recent salmonella cases were traced to restaurants. At the time I read these stories, I thought, “how protectively vague of the reporters and authorities not to identify these restaurants, which would give us clues as to the source of the outbreak, and would also lead to people not eating at the restaurants in question, which would hurt their already recession-sagging bottom lines.”

    So here it is, a month later, and the story is just sort of dying on the vine. I say we don’t know the source because the people in charge of the investigation deliberately suppressed the story. It is true that most events like this are isolated incidents, so the problem has likely passed.

    BTW to all you scatological fiends with your fantasies of tomato-pickers crapping in the fields, humans aren’t salmonella vectors. But fowl and other livestock are. The bugs probably got into/onto the tomatoes from chicken-poop/salmonella laced irrigation or wash water.

  30. oldheathen says:


    Chances are you’re exactly right about it being illegal immigrant farm workers. VERY common in the SoCal avocado, strawberry, tomato and even poinsettia fields. No one makes the employers do a damn thing, so why should they bother with the expense of providing sanitation facilities?

    On a related note, efforts to create temporary housing for migrant workers are almost always decried by local residents, who prefer to keep these guys living in tent cities in the canyons (out of sight, out of mind.)

  31. JetFtr says:

    WOW, where is Home Land Security during this terrorist tomato attack?

    Seriously, how is it that major food chains can not track down the source of the produce?
    They get invoiced for the produce.

  32. BlackFlag55 says:

    Odd that in March of 1989, inspectors managed to isolate 2 cyanide laced grapes out of millions of pounds of grapes from Chile. And now, with more modern computers, networks and resources we cannot seem to isolate the origins of such a major outbreak. Hmmm.

    OTOH – we are in a very depserate asymmetric war.

    There is an old book by a GRU defector who wrote under the pen name Viktor Suvorov. The book’s title is Spetsnaz: The Inside Story of the Soviet Special Forces. Chapter 15 in this book is about Spetsnaz’s role at the outset of World War III. It makes very interesting reading because so far, Suvorov is batting 1,000 in his predictions.

    Russian Spetsnaz commandos are trained as paratroopers, psy-ops, explosives experts, terrorists and assassins. According to Suvorov, World War III will not begin with conventional military operations, or even with massed nuclear missile strikes. On page 196 he describes “a series of large and small [terrorist] operations the purpose of which is, before actual military operations begin, to weaken the enemy’s morale, create an atmosphere of suspicion, fear and uncertainty, and divert attention of the enemy’s armies and police forces to a huge number of different targets….” According to Suvorov: “The principle method employed at this stage is ‘grey terror.'” This is a kind of terror that is carried out “in the name of already existing extremist groups not connected in any way with the Soviet Union, or in the name of fictitious organizations, and/or anonymously for greatest effect. Events spiralling out of control for no discernable reason”

    Suvorov claimed that “grey terror” would have a psychological warfare component. The Russian special services, he wrote, would launch a scandal parade. Dirt would be invented, created or dug up on America’s leaders, on America’s defense establishment and on America’s friends abroad. According to Suvorov, nations would be incited to distrust their leaders. The peace movement, he wrote, would make use of these scandals. “In many countries there are continual demands to make the country neutral and not to support American foreign policy, which has been discredited in their propaganda.” When America’s international support erodes, explained Suvorov, the “grey terror” gathers in scope and “reaches its peak.” The next stage is pink terror, “when active military operations have not yet begun and there is still peace, but when some of the best spetsnaz units have already gone into action.” This leads directly to “red terror” – which is open warfare between major powers.

    Grey terror policies include attacking America’s food supply, water ressources, energy supplies through disruption of pricing and allocation, and in general wreaking havoc in hundreds of small ways that tie up national and local resoruces with no clear outcome.

    Somehow, it has become fashionable to make oneself blind to what our enemies have told us they intend to do. Salmonella might be purely accidental. And it might not be. Either way, we’re certainly never going to be told the truth.

  33. mikelotus says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: its because he is an idiot douche bag that is most likely the worse president ever and believes he is doing god’s calling. and when the american people find out they are big time lied to, they really tend to hate that more than anything. this is a guy that supposedly can’t remember if he did cocaine. besides education, what the fuck has he done right?

  34. mikelotus says:

    @ChuckECheese: my brother got it from the sauce on a Pizza Hut sub in El Paso. Never gets anything in Ciudad Juarez but gets it there. He was shitting and puking at the same time. He could barely crawl to the phone to call an ambulance.

  35. BlackFlag55 says:

    Mikelotus – about 7.5 years of unbelievabley dangerous and gut wrenching things you will never know about.

    Wow. The hubris of people who imagine they have any idea what’s going on, because “they read it in the newspaper”, “saw it on TV” or “my buddy told me”. The stuff that really, truly matters you will never ever know anything about. THAT’s what GW’s been doing.

  36. mikelotus says:

    @BlackFlag55: true, breaking the law, brooding with Cheney, not planning for an occupation of Iraq, dismembering FEMA, wiping out the trillion dollar surplus, OKing torture, pissing off the world, not remembering if he did cocaine, covering up Valerie Plame, almost finishing off the CIA with Poter Goss, assuring that Karl Rove’s sustainable Republican majority was a fantasy, replacing science with right wing, religious nonsense, letting Bin Laden get away, screwing up Afghanistan, supporting an idiot in Pakistan, bumbling North Korea for many years, wasting more billions on Star Wars weapons, did I miss anything?

  37. JessicaJessica says:

    When I worked at Olive Garden many years ago, they had an issue with their normal US tomato supplier and had to start importing tomatoes from Mexico instead. During a staff meeting, the manager told us that we should NOT eat these tomatoes (employees get a discount and usually eat at the restaurant before/after the shift) because the Mexican tomato growers used human sh*t to fertilize the tomatoes, which could put us at risk for hepatitis and other fecal bacterial illnesses. When we all recoiled in horror, he explained that this was a common and well known practice in Mexico. Even when we went back to our US supplier, I couldn’t bring myself to eat the tomatoes, and I also starting checking the source in my grocery store.

    I have a feeling Mexico is guilty of other dangerous practices, too, such as using illegal pesticides for produce that are much cheaper than the legal ones. The FDA can’t even police growers in it’s own country, let alone elsewhere.

  38. The Porkchop Express says:

    @HeartBurnKid: I bet it did, it just wasn’t such big news and I don’t think the consumerist was around yet. in fact how many blogs were there in those days (that regular people read)?

    So because some shit slipped by it’s somebody’s fault. what about the owner of the farm, the peolpe picking the shit, the trucking company, maybe even the store? nope, gotta be the government.

  39. barty says:

    @TheUncleBob: Who cares who appointed who. It is another case of government incompetence. This is what happens when you turn agencies that are supposed to be in the business of protecting the people into huge jobs and entitlement programs with little regard to the qualifications of the people you’re hiring.

    And some of you people want this same government handling your healthcare. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  40. Upsilon says:

    It’s simple, really.
    It cam from terrorists.
    By terrorists, I mean foreigners.
    By foreigners, I mean Nazis.
    By Nazis, I mean Aryans.
    By Aryans, I mean white people.
    By white people, I mean George Bush.

    You see what I did thar?

    Oh, and I’m white, so it’s apparently cool to call Bush a stupid cracker.


  41. thebaron says:

    FDA is most likely covering for the Mexican producers by claiming they don’t know where they are coming from….but there is a chance that an illegal worker in our country inflected local supply.

    This country has no surplus for a long time, since they have TWO books that cover the money we spend of this country. Congress has done nothing effective in last few years, check out their day to day activity of thumbing their noses at the American people and might as well burn our money in front of us!