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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
October 17, 2007

Multistate Outbreaks of

JAMA. 2007;298(15):1753-1755. doi:10.1001/jama.298.15.1753

MMWR. 2007;56:909-911

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During 2005-2006, four large multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections associated with eating raw tomatoes at restaurants occurred in the United States. The four outbreaks resulted in 459 culture-confirmed cases of salmonellosis in 21 states. This report describes the epidemiologic, environmental, and laboratory investigations into these four outbreaks by state and local health departments, national food safety agencies, and CDC. The results of these investigations determined that the tomatoes had been supplied to restaurants either whole or precut from tomato fields in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. These recurrent, large, multistate outbreaks emphasize the need to prevent Salmonella contamination of tomatoes early in the production and packing process. Current knowledge of mechanisms for tomato contamination and methods of eradication of Salmonella in tomatoes is incomplete; the agricultural industry, food safety agencies, and public health agencies should make tomato-safety research a priority.

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