Hobby Farms Editors
February 18, 2009

Eat homegrown tomatoes to avoid salmonella

Seeds for this Cherokee Purple are available from Gary Ibsen’s Tomato Fest. Look here for more heirloom seed sources.

Find information on farmers markets and homegrown food in your area.

Bonus: Get tips for pest-free tomatoes.

Homegrown tomatoes rule–in good times and in bad. 

If you want to avoid the current outbreak of Salmonella found in some types of red, raw tomatoes, just open your back door and stroll down to your garden.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reports, “Tomatoes not implicated in the outbreak are the best choice at this time. These include:

  • Homegrown tomatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Tomatoes with the vine still attached

The outbreak of Salmonella (a strain or serotype known as Saintpaul), says the FDA, has been linked to certain types; avoid these:

  • Red plum
  • Red Roma 
  • Red round tomatoes

Also, products containing these raw, red tomatoes grown in certain areas are all included.

According to the FDA, since mid-April cases have been reported in:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

In all more than 140 cases of salmonellosis have been reported nationwide and more than 20 people have been hospitalized.

Tomatoes harvested from the following areas are not currently associated with the outbreak:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas Belgium
  • Canada
  • Dominican Republic
  • Guatemala
  • Israel
  • Netherlands
  • Puerto Rico

If you’re uncertain of the origin of tomatoes you have, ask the vendor or contact the store where you purchased them. Click here for updates from the FDA.


Next Up