Foodborne Salmonella Outbreak Associated with Certain Fresh Tomatoes

Two confirmed cases identified in Michigan.

Published on: Jun 16, 2008

The Michigan departments of Agriculture and Community Health are alerting consumers and the food industry about a current outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul infections in multiple states believed to be associated with the consumption of fresh tomatoes.

Currently, there are two Salmonella cases in Michigan believed to be associated with this outbreak - a 46 year-old male in Kent County and a 29 year-old female in Washtenaw County. Both residents are recovering and neither was hospitalized.

At this time, preliminary information suggests that certain types of fresh tomatoes - raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes, and products containing these raw, red tomatoes - may be the possible cause of this outbreak.

Consumers should not eat raw red Roma, raw red plum, raw red round tomatoes, or products that contain these types of raw red tomatoes. Consumers should continue to eat cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, or tomatoes grown at home.


"MDA is working in close cooperation with its federal food safety partners to advise Michigan's food industry and consumers to take necessary precautions regarding certain fresh tomatoes," says Don Koivisto, MDA director. "We are committed to ensuring that the food Michigan consumers are eating - whether at home or when dining out – is safe."

"MDCH is working with federal and local health authorities in Michigan to identify and investigate illnesses that may be associated with this outbreak. Salmonella is a bacteria that people should take very seriously," says Janet Olszewski, MDCH director. "We urge Michigan consumers to use extreme caution when purchasing and consuming tomatoes and to follow the advisory that the Food and Drug Administration released."

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.

FDA's Tomato Consumer Web page can be found at
www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html.  

For more information, please visit FDA's Web site at
www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html#retailers.  

For more information, please visit the CDC web site at
www.cdc.gov/salmonella/saintpaul.