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In the aftermath of a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak that was originally linked to fresh tomatoes and that sickened more than 1,100 people across the country since early April, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration at long last cleared "all tomatoes that are available in the U.S. marketplace without regard for their origin."
The news came just a day after The Washington Post did an in-depth report on what proved to be a frustrating investigation into the outbreak that the paper said might well "go down in history as the case of the missing tomatoes."
During a media briefing on Thursday, FDA's associate food commissioner David Acheson said that agency was changing its advice because the farms identified thru the trace back investigations are no longer shipping tomatoes and because they did not find any evidence of contamination along the supply chains that were involved in the trace back investigations.
As evidence has mounted that tomatoes could not be contributing to this outbreak, the United Fresh Produce Association, which had been urging FDA and CDC to change their earlier advisory, said it was pleased with the news. However, the Washington, D.C.-based trade group continues to encourage the agencies to complete their investigation of Jalapeno and Serrano peppers quickly so that either the problem can be identified or, if not, these products can be cleared as well.