NEW JERSEY ADDED TO LIST OF STATES WITH SAFE TOMATOES
Field Harvest Still a Few Weeks Away; Greenhouse Tomatoes Ruled SafeFor Immediate Release: June 10, 2008
Contact: Jeff Beach
(TRENTON) – New Jersey was added today to the Food and Drug Administration’s list of states whose tomatoes have been ruled out as a cause of a recent tomato-related salmonella outbreak, officially making tomatoes grown here safe for sale and consumption, Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus said.
“There are still a few weeks to go before New Jersey’s field-grown tomatoes are harvested this season, so the only question was about those grown in greenhouses,” said Secretary Kuperus. “Those began making their way to market in mid-May, well after the April 23 timeframe in which the FDA has said the suspect tomatoes were being purchased and consumed. Greenhouse tomatoes are grown in controlled environments, with a lowered possible exposure to bacterial contamination.”
FDA has not yet been able to pinpoint where the tomatoes responsible for the salmonella outbreak came from, so the agency is maintaining a list of states from which the tomatoes could not have originated. This will help retailers be confident that selling tomatoes from those states will not present a safety concern for consumers. The list can be found at: www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html#retailers.
Kuperus reminded consumers that even produce grown in states ruled out as a possible source of the outbreak should always be handled properly to avoid contamination. Such steps include:
- Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
- Cut away and discard any damaged or bruised areas on produce.
- Thoroughly wash all produce before eating, even if you plan to peel it.
- Dry produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
For more information on produce safety, visit the Department’s Food Safety web site at: www.nj.gov/agriculture/news/hottopics/approved/topics070319.html or the FDA’s Produce Safety page at: www.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Edms/prodsafe.html.