Searching for the Salmonella Source

The concern about salmonella, initially linked to tomatoes, began in April. Now, in the first week of July, there is some doubt raised as to whether it is the tomatoes that is the source of the problem:

“…the U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears no closer to finding the source of a mysterious salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 900 people nationwide. It’s not even 100 percent sure that tomatoes are the cause.

A team of three FDA inspectors has gone through five farms in the western states of Jalisco and Sinaloa in the past two weeks, looking at all aspects of tomato production: the greenhouses where they are grown, the packing plants where they are shut into boxes, the shipping methods for the trip north to the U.S.”

link: FDA hunts for salmonella source in Mexico

This is eerily similar to the problem with contaminated pet food last year. The FDA simply did not have the resources to have a wide investigation. Thousand of pets died.

Now a sector of the food producers is waiting for answers. The initial suspicion on tomatoes has throttled this sector of the food industry. It is not only the growing operations that are impacted. The pickers, processors, shippers and related industries are suspended, until definite answers are forthcoming.

Clearly, this once again demonstrates that U.S. Food and Drug Administration is underfunded and understaffed. Tomatoes may seem like a commodity that the household can avoid easily and eliminate from the shopping list. However, the industry and related businesses are losing millions of dollars daily. It is an ongoing disaster for that food sector.

It would seem that protecting the national food supply is an essential security issues. The loss of family pets and the hundred of reported salmonella related illnesses should be enough to convince anyone that the food supply is at risk. And, if some government legislator disagrees, perhaps he or she would like to have a tomato.

Catherine Forsythe