From April 23 though June 1, 2008, there have been 57 reported cases of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Saintpaul in New Mexico and Texas, including 17 hospitalizations. Approximately 30 reports of illness in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Utah are currently being investigated to determine whether they are also linked to tomatoes. There are no reported deaths.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting consumers in New Mexico and Texas that the outbreak appears to be linked to consumption of certain types of raw red tomatoes and products containing raw red tomatoes. The bacteria causing the illnesses are Salmonella serotype Saintpaul, an uncommon type of Salmonella.

According to FDA reports, the source of the contaminated tomatoes may be limited to a single grower or packer, or tomatoes from a specific geographic area.

The specific type and source of tomatoes are under investigation. However, preliminary data suggest that raw red plum, red Roma, or round red tomatoes are the cause. At this time, consumers in New Mexico and Texas should limit their tomato consumption to tomatoes that have not been implicated in the outbreak. These include cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, and tomatoes grown at home.

As harvest season ramps up, the FDA is working at the state level and with the CDC, Indian Health Service, food and industry trade associations and at the state level to quickly determine the source and type of contaminated tomatoes.

For more information access the CDC Website for Salmonella Saintpaul Updates as they become available.

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