FDA: Go Ahead And Eat Tomatoes, We Give Up

Well, the FDA isn’t sure what caused that salmonella outbreak, but they’re lifting the tomato warning anyway, according to the Associated Press. They’d still appreciate it if you tried not to eat raw jalapeno and serrano peppers, because, well, they have to tell you not to eat something, I guess.

From NPR:

…among later illnesses, there seems to be more evidence against peppers. The FDA is sending inspectors to Mexico to investigate a packing house that receives peppers from a number of farms.

Since April, 1065 people infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. We suspect that this is about good as it gets when you have the same agency responsible for hearing aids, heating pads, and fresh produce.

FDA Lifts Salmonella Warning On Tomatoes [NPR]
(Photo: Benjamin Thompson )


Edit Your Comment

  1. simplegreen says:

    lawsuits out the ass on their way!

  2. simplegreen says:

    Lawsuits out the ass coming soon!

  3. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    It was the salsa.

  4. Legal_Eagle_In_Training says:

    Guess it’s a good thing I stopped going to happy hour and eating all the complimentary chips and salsa they’d give me for buying only one or two Coronas.

  5. maneki neko says:

    Who needs a government safety agency, anyway? Let’s let the free market take care of it. If the people who get serious illnesses would just take their tomato (or pepper) dollars to non-tainted providers, the problem would fix itself. Right? Right??

  6. legwork says:

    Psst! It’s the fluoride! Pass it on!

    //safe under my tinfoil hat

  7. ARP says:

    @hurkon: My thoughts exactly, we should eliminate all food, product, and medication safety programs and let those companies self-report if things are dangerous or not….wait, we’ve done that.

  8. maneki neko says:

    @ARP: I agree, we are getting there, but it’s not quite good enough yet. The FDA still occasionally pokes their head into things like tainted hamburger. I say eliminate any and all consumer safety precautions. It’ll have the added benefit of improving the gene pool too!

  9. SahuaritaSam says:

    Great news!

  10. Poor tomato growers really got the shit end of the stick during this whole thing.

  11. xwildebeestx says:

    It’s an election year… gotta have SOMETHING to be afraid of!

  12. humphrmi says:

    I don’t get the peppers part. I was going to post that I didn’t think that Salmonella could survive in an acidic host, but damned if someone didn’t already do a study on it and they become resistant: [www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov]

    Oh well. I love jalapenos, but at least I’m glad to have my tomatoes back.

  13. Johnyalamo says:

    Yes, the FDA is the best!!! I’m still losing weight on Phe-Phen and Celebrex!

    Seriously, chances are they will find that this is due to a very under appreciated and growing problem in N. America and that is the increasing population of ferral hogs running through corporate/private farms and crapping or laying in quality produce. They have no natural predators other than man.

    Support you local hog killer and eat more pork.

  14. goodywitch says:

    @humphrmi: Are you thinking of fresh or pickled? I think the FDA is warning/warned about fresh, not so much the canned/jarred stuff. I’ll RTFA later, but that’s my impression based off the blerb. Then again, because of this whole fiasco, my mom has gotten into a boil all vegetables kick, blergh. I like my fresh veggies, dag nab it!

  15. The_Gas_Man says:

    I think the point behind their criticism is the fact that our government is bloated and incompetent, not that we shouldn’t have one.

  16. chiieddy says:

    Massachusetts reported 20 new cases in the past month. Also related are some peppers, including jalapenos. So… yeah… good luck.

  17. camman68 says:

    @goodywitch: That’s funny. How old are you?

  18. mac-phisto says:

    @hurkon: i know you’re at least half-joking, but if you haven’t read it already, read “the jungle” by upton sinclair. the book is largely credited for the creation of food safety laws b/c of its meticulous explanation of meat processing techniques (which, honestly, haven’t changed much in ~100 years).

  19. AdvocatesDevil says:

    @hurkon: McCain wants his idea back, thank you very much.

  20. sean77 says:

    tomatoes are poison.. unless they’re pureed in some form (ketchup, salsa, tomato soup)

  21. Coles_Law says:

    Oh no. I threw out my tomatoes a month ago. They’re prying my jalapenos from my cold dead hands.


  22. themrdee says:

    Hurkon, I agree about the gene pool.

  23. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @sean77: Tomatoes aren’t poison. The Romans just thought they were because they were eating them off lead plates, and tomatoes have a tendency to leech impurities.

  24. sean77 says:

    @goodywitch: unless you’re using a thermometer, boiling may not be enough.

    Salmonella will survive up to 60C/140F. Put a tomato in a pot of boiling water and it could take longer than you think for the core temp to rise above 60C.

  25. TVarmy says:

    What I do: I still eat the jalapenos, but I do a few courtesy gestures towards them. I rinse it liberally, dip it in distilled white vinegar, then rinse it again, and try to prepare it in something fairly acidic or cooked.

    Besides, I’m a young and virile 19 year old. Nothing can hurt my demographic!

  26. ChuckECheese says:

    Salmonella swim upstream. That’s probably why the FDA can’t locate them. They should look there.

  27. ThinkPink says:

    I’m just glad that I don’t eat a lot of things that get pulled from shelves/recalled. I don’t like tomatoes, I don’t like onions (recall like 3 Taco Bell scares), etc. But it is pitiful how people can’t just do their jobs and make sure they’re putting safe and quality products into the market.

  28. trujunglist says:

    I’m eating tasty salsa right now on my tasty carne asada bur.trjsioedNRNG99999999

  29. Orv says:

    @HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak: They’re also related to nightshade, which is quite poisonous, so it’s not surprising that people would have considered them dangerous at some point in history.

  30. maneki neko says:

    Haha, I’m entirely joking. I’ve avoided reading that book so far because I’m afraid it will give me nightmares, or at least put me off meat for good.

  31. ARP says:

    @The_Gas_Man: Our government is bloated and incompetent…in all the wrong places.

    The current administration has cut funding to the FDA, EPA, Consumer Goods testing, and other agencies that are supposed to protect our health and safety. They’ve curtailed their ability to enforce rules, refuse to prosecute, or just let violators off easy. They contradict the scientific findings of the agency or ignore them. After all this, they complain the agency is not effective at their jobs, cut their budget more and say that private industry/market is a better way to maintain health and safety.

    BTW- they take up a few percentage points of our total tax burden. A few months in Iraq, the taxes the wealthy have been hiding offshore, or the tax breaks we give to oil and gas companies would go a long way to restore their ability to protect our food, medications, and products.

  32. goodywitch says:

    @camman68: 24 in a week, why?

    @sean77: We stick it in a pressure cooker, so all the veggies are over-cooked. (Twenty minutes after it starts to make noise, then shut it off.)

    Then again, I swear my family is immune to E.Coli. I’ve gotten sick everytime I’ve been to India, and my parents were raised there, so I’m sure that we have all the immunities to deal with it. I swear we even got the tainted spinach a while back. So, bring on the bacteria!

    *sigh* It’s a sad state when people are afraid to eat fresh fruits and veggies from their local grocer.

  33. donkeyjote says:

    The experts at my local fast food place decided it was okay to eat tomatoes a couple of weeks ago… The FDA should hire them -_-

    And personally, I blame the over use of anti-bacteria spray/wipes/soap. People ain’t got non o them der immunities and the ilk that skyintests be talking about al the time…

    (If you don’t expose yourself to something, how will you be protected when it hits really bad? Example: Hep and Polio Vaccines)

  34. B says:

    I was supposed to stop eating tomatoes? I figured they recalled all the dangerous ones a few days after the scare.

  35. blong81 says:

    I just feel soo bad for the tomato industry getting slammed by the government and the FDA telling everyone to not buy their products. What if the FDA told everyone to not buy something else, and it put them out of business? And then it was a false alarm anyways? No accountability…Oh and if they paid restitution it’d be our tax dollars anyways…

  36. Scuba Steve says:

    @simplegreen: It doesn’t work like that.. either FDA regulates, or the courts regulate. Most cases get thrown out.

  37. puddleglum411 says:

    I’m all for food safety, but let’s put things in perspective here. The CDC estimates 1.4 million cases of salmonella per year, which works out to 3835 PER DAY. “Outbreak” might not be the most appropriate word in this case.

  38. SOhp101 says:

    Perhaps the best thing about this whole ‘outbreak,’ for me anyway, was the fact that the tomatoes were virtually untouched at the supermarkets and I could choose from the best. Not to mention they were dirt cheap too.

  39. camman68 says:

    @goodywitch: I just found it funny that your mom still cooks your veggies. I thought you might still be in Jr. High or something.

  40. The_Gas_Man says:

    Well, that was entirely off topic and unnecessary. But you’re preaching to the choir. :-)

  41. anonvmoos says:

    my theory is that its a chain restaraunt, but they paid fda to hide the evidence.

    what were all of the last ecoli/salmonella outbreaks? olive garden, taco bell, jack in the box…

  42. goodywitch says:

    @camman68: I’m visiting home during school break. She takes the opportunity to baby me. I ain’t gonna argue.

    Back on topic, I’m not too concerned about finding the cause of the past outbreak. I’m more interested in what they’ll do now to prevent further contamination.

  43. mac-phisto says:

    @hurkon: nah – the book had a profound impact on me & i still eat lots of meat.

    i just tend to stay away from delicacies like chicken in a can.

  44. nequam says:

    @puddleglum411: Yes, but the CDC also estimates that, for every reported recent case, there are 30-40 going unreported. That translates to 30,000-40,000 cases from this outbreak.

  45. ARP says:

    @The_Gas_Man: Perhaps a little, but the underlying issue is our government’s ability to protect our food supply and consumer products (which they’re not doing very well at). We share some of the responsibility, but we should expect some minimum level of safety. So it was a bit rant-y, but not too far off topic.

  46. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    @rainmkr: It wasn’t a hepititis outbreak…

  47. puddleglum411 says:

    @nequam: I haven’t heard that anywhere. Source? Mine’s here:


  48. Sockatume says:

    I think they’re lifting the ban because they’ve conclusively demonstrated that tomatoes were not to blame. They don’t have to find the real culprit to prove that tomatoes are safe. I mean, you’d be pretty pissed off if you were left to rot in jail because, although you’d conclusively proven your innocence in court, no other suspect could be found.

  49. Neuro223 says:

    Man, I love Jalapenos… That really sucks, I eat like 2 or 3 raw a week from grocery store produce departments.. I am not sure if this is making me want to stop.. Maybe I am crazy.. I will let you all know if I die….

    Uh… Wait a minute…hmmmm

  50. kyle4 says:

    Way to ruin the Tomato industry there, FDA. That did quite some damage.