Department of Agriculture Department of Consumer Protection
F. Philip Prelli, Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr., Commissioner
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Contact: Robert Pelegrino/Agriculture, (860)713-2552
Claudette Carveth/ Consumer Protection (860)713-6022
Date: June 11, 2008
HARTFORD, June 11 -- In response to the recent salmonella outbreak associated with raw tomatoes, Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Philip Prelli and Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. are jointly announcing to consumers that at this time, Connecticut-grown tomatoes appear to be safe.
“Connecticut tomatoes are delicious and appear at this time to be safe, and buying local helps Connecticut agriculture,” Commissioner Prelli said. “While current crops are limited, we want to reassure consumers as to the safety of Connecticut tomatoes before the start of Connecticut’s tomato season.”
“We are continuing to work with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Public Health and the Food and Drug Administration on this issue,” Commissioner Farrell said. “We agree with Commissioner Prelli that Connecticut tomatoes appear safe at this time.”
Both Commissioners also want to update consumers on the recent announcement by the Florida Department of Agriculture on the safety of tomatoes grown in that state. According to the FDA website, (www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html,), shipments of tomatoes harvested in the Florida counties of: Jackson, Gadsden, Leon, Jefferson, Madison, Suwannee, Hamilton, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, Hardee, DeSoto, Sarasota, Highlands, Pasco, Sumter, Citrus, Hernando, Charlotte are acceptable with a certificate issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“As I indicated the other day, consumers need to know where their tomatoes come from to make a determination of which are safe to eat and which are not,” Farrell said.
In addition to the Florida counties identified above, the FDA has indicated that tomatoes from the following sources are not associated with the outbreak:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections particularly in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, the organism can get into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses. Consumers who have recently eaten raw tomatoes or foods containing raw tomatoes and are experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their health care provider. All Salmonella infections should be reported to state or local health authorities.
Information on safe handling of produce can be found at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/prodsafe.html
Tomato consumer page can be found at www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html
Updates on the recall from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found at www.cdc.gov/