As the number of reported illnesses linked to salmonella-tainted tomatoes goes up, so does pressure on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to find the source of this rare strain of bacteria. Since our last report, the number of illnesses has risen to 228 people in 23 states…New cases have been reported in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New York, Tennessee and Vermont…

Tomato growers in Florida and Mexico, both large suppliers in the U.S., are concerned over lost sales. In Florida, 19 counties are safe to ship their tomatoes again, but top-producing counties, such as Dade and Collier, are still under investigation. State officials said the Florida Agriculture Department has issued certificates verifying the origin of what they estimate as several thousand loads…

While some tomato-producing areas of Mexico have been cleared since they weren’t harvesting when the illnesses were reported, the remainder of the country is still under investigation as a possible source. According to Dr. Acheson, the FDA is “in active dialogue” with Mexican authorities, but “haven’t sent anyone to Mexico because we don’t have a place specifically identified.”

And this is where confidence breaks down. I asked the produce manager at 2 grocery chains, this morning, how long it takes to track down suspicious food. Each confirmed they could nail the source down to the farmer and field within 48 hours.

The Eastern manager for Safeway said the same on network TV, yesterday. Yet, we first covered this food alert 9 days ago – at least a week after people began falling ill.

  1. Brandon says:

    So, with all these federal agencies being horribly incompetent, why do people still think that it’s a good idea to nationalize healthcare?

  2. Tyson of the NW says:

    It is a sad state when the food industry is asking for better funded federal monitoring of themselves. The FDA only has a singe part time position to monitor the safety of all bottled water in the US. At least FEMA got funding and was ignored. Congress has been piling on new directives while the White House has been cutting it’s budget for years now.

  3. davidh says:

    My folks get excellent treatment on medicare. They go to expensive doctors and hospitals and never see the bills. I’d love to be on that program but I have another 20 years to go.

    The FDA has been dismantled by the political hacks and lobbiest running the country. They don’t want it work. Same with the EPA.

  4. Mister Mustard says:

    >>why do people still think that it’s a
    >>good idea to nationalize healthcare?

    Because 1) it’s the stated goal of the current Denial of Medical Care industry to deny as much medical care as possible in order to maximize profits and 2) the reason that the FDA isn’t operating at peak efficiency is because Dimwits like Dumbya prefer to spend our taxpayer dollars lining the pockets of their friends, rather than doing what the government is supposed to do.

    Medicare works OK, and before Dumbya’s budget cuts disemboweled it, the VA system worked very well too.

    Sure, you can have a government agency that you give 10% of the funding it needs and then point out that it doesn’t work very well.

    Who do you WANT in charge, though? The growers of salmonella shit-soaked produce and the makers of counterfeit medicines? That’s essentially what we’ve got now in the Denial of Health Care business. And the CEOs are laughing all the way to the bank with their $130,000,000.00 paychecks, incredible bonuses, and platinum parachutes. While we suffer and die from having been denied health care.

  5. Mister Mustard says:

    >>Each confirmed they could nail the source
    >>down to the farmer and field within 48 hours.

    Yes, this is mysterious. They were able to track down the feces-laden spinach and bagged salads quite quickly.

    Is the supply chain for tomatoes so devilishly convoluted that grocery stores and restaurants don’t know where their tomatoes come from?

    This is deserving of an exposé. Where’s Geraldo when you need him?

  6. ECA says:

    Lets see…
    Finding a supplier AFTER a harvest is not that easy..

    Consider that the Fruit, has hit HOW MANY STATES??
    FROM which STORES,
    from WHICH distributors,
    from WHICH sorters/harvesters..
    then from WHICH farms..

  7. Mister Mustard says:

    I lOvE yOuR cApItAlIzAtIoN sChEmE, ECA, but what are you trying to say?

  8. gquaglia says:

    It’s Mexicans shitting on our food.

  9. Matt says:

    >So, with all these federal agencies being >horribly incompetent, why do people still think >that it’s a good idea to nationalize healthcare?

    The problem is Republicans who are for small government because they say government doesn’t work. Then, when they get in power, they cut funding to government agencies and appoint cronies who are not experts in the areas they are now working. When the inevitable f*ck up happens, they say “see. government doesn’t work!” The current administration took that strategy to whole new heights.

  10. Mister Mustard says:

    >>It’s Mexicans shitting on our food.

    More likely it’s white trash shitting on our food. They’re known to do that.

  11. John Paradox says:

    Where’s Geraldo when you need him?

    In Al Capone’s Vault?


  12. Mister Ketchup says:

    #10 – That had to be an inordinate amount of white trash to shit on that many tomatoes. Now I’m concerned about the ketchup supply, I mean – fuck the mustard, right?

    I’ll bet it has nothing to do with salmonella. Grapes from Chile were quietly pulled from shelves across the country after they found strychnine injected in them.

  13. Roseanne Rosannadanna says:

    So far this year there have been 115 tomato-related deaths, making this the deadliest tomato season since 1998! And now they are covered in bacteria. Yeck! What the hell is going on?

    Did you know that a total of 87 tomatoes struck the Tennessee valley and midwest on Feb 5, causing 56 deaths? Where are these tomatoes coming from? Some big shots say that it’s just unusually nasty tomato weather. I, Roseanne Rosannadanna, say WHAT? The bad tomato weather? Who ever heard of such a stupid idea. I say it’s some kind of attacking bacteria tomato alien from outer space, that’s what!

    Are we just going to stand around picking our noses and hoping we don’t get killed by a tomato? No way! those alien bacteria tomato alien guys are messin with the wrong people. We have to start throwing things back… like carrots or melons or somethin. That’ll teach them not to mess with Roseanne Rosannadanna when they get their little alien bacteria tomato asses kicked!

  14. Mister Mustard says:

    #12 – Ketchy

    Uhhh, the grapes from Chile (all two of them) were allegedly laced with cyanide, not strychnine.

    As to the number of white trash folks around, they are legion. How do you think Dumbya got as many non-majority votes as he did? Who the fuck do you think voted for him… educated people?

    White trash vote for Dumbya, shit on our produce. Vote for Dumbya, shit on our produce. Watch for them voting for McBush this fall. The cycle will continue, like a venereal disease.

    Sheesh. No wonder you’re relegated to the bottom shelf of the condiment rack.

  15. Mister Ketchup says:

    #14 – Bite my ass, I outsell you by a huge margin. Yes, it was cyanide and it makes you wonder who the hell decided to look at them.

    Also, what makes you think anyone voted for him?

  16. Mister Ketchup says:

    If anyone finds Ecstasy in our food source, please let me know. I think I’d like to try that once. For now, I’ll go have a V-8.

  17. Mister Mustard says:

    >>Also, what makes you think anyone voted for him?

    Diebold told me so.

    >>Bite my ass, I outsell you by a huge margin.

    Yeah, and toilet paper outsells caviar by a huge margin. Bfd. I’ll bet the white trash guys shitting on our food buy you by the 5-gallon tub.

  18. gregallen says:

    I seriously wonder if I got a dose of this. I’m not one to get “trendy” illnesses just because they are in the news.

    I’ve lived in the third world long enough to know the difference between foodborne illness and the flu. What we got sure seems foodborne. We were vomiting for a couple of days but we seem to be through it.

    I heard on the radio today that for every reported case of salmonella, there are scores that go unreported. That will be me and my family.

    This Reagan Republican doctrine that the government can do no good makes me want to vomit even more.

    Let’s kick the conservatives out and re-install leaders who believe the government can actually make our lives better.

  19. ol,waterman says:

    The meter is on fishy. Tomatos are at their pricyest right now. Restuants were paying a premiem for them. Most of my friends who own or run restuants are saving a bundle not serving them. In a week or so the local tomatoes will be in and their best and cheap.

  20. OvenMaster says:

    All this “searching” to find the source of these tomatoes, yet it’s the same government that has repeatedly let food producers off the hook for labeling what they grow/sell/distribute with stickers showing the country of origin until 2009.

    Your government at work.

  21. hhopper says:

    WTF! Doesn’t anyone wash their tomatoes any more? That should solve the problem.

  22. Mister Ketchup says:

    I went out today and shit on some Brussles sprouts, I hate them. The people at the Super Wal-Mart weren’t very happy either.

  23. Mister Mustard says:

    >>I went out today and shit on some Brussles
    >>sprouts, I hate them.

    You should try them sautéed, Watery One. Mmmm-mmmm good!

    It’s no wonder that the international community associated “catsup” with the ugly American.

  24. gregallen says:

    Remember how the Republicans lectures us for DECADES that the least government was the best government.

    Well, I have lived in countries where the government didn’t assure food and water safety.

    Surprise! Everybody was sick, all the time.

    Welcome the Republican’s America. Enjoy being sick.

  25. Mister Ketchup says:

    #24 – I’m not suffering from mental illness, I kind of enjoy it.

  26. OvenMaster says:

    #21: Nope, washing won’t work, just like it didn’t work for the tainted spinach from California a couple of years back. The reason is that the irrigation water for the plants was contaminated with feces, so as the tomato plants grew, the salmonella stayed inside the fruits. The only way to kill the salmonella is to cook these tomatoes thoroughly.


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