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Digesting The Alert and Staying Safe

At right, raw Roma tomatoes, red round tomatoes are among the types public health officials say should be avoided.
At right, raw Roma tomatoes, red round tomatoes are among the types public health officials say should be avoided. (By Scott Olson -- Getty Images)
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Q Which tomatoes are safe?

ACherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and tomatoes grown at home.

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Which tomatoes should be avoided?

Uncooked red plum, red Roma, or red round tomatoes unless they are from a region cleared by the Food and Drug Administration. For a list of the regions that have been declared safe, go to http://www.foodsafety.gov.

Why are red round tomatoes on the list? Aren't most tomatoes round and red?

Food safety officials are trying to track the source of the contaminated tomatoes by interviewing people who became ill. Some of the people could report nothing more specific than that the tomatoes were round and red.

What is salmonella?

Salmonella are microscopic creatures that cause diarrheal illness.

How do people catch salmonella?

Salmonella bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals, including birds, and are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.

Can you tell whether food is infected?

Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal, so handling food safely is the best way to avoid salmonella.


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