By now, you’d have to be living under a rock not to know about the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak associated with some fresh tomatoes in the U.S.
Fortunately, the situation north of the border remains unchanged from early last week (June 3), when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued an advisory that “tomatoes grown in Canada have not been implicated in the U.S. investigation.” You can read the Agency’s June 6 update here.
For more information on what’s safe to consume, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s web site—updated daily. Its current “outbreak advisory” states that cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold on the vine and homegrown tomatoes are not a concern. It also provides a list of all the states and countries—including Canada—supplying tomatoes that are safe to eat.
Until the source of the outbreak is identified, many restaurants are erring on the side of caution and have voluntarily removed tomatoes from their menu. This news article at CBC.ca identifies many of the chains, which include: Tim Hortons, Taco Bell, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s.
As Best Health’s health editor, Lisa Murphy, suggested in her post on June 5, outbreaks like this may further justify the “eat local” movement, simply because consumers can be conscious about where their food is coming from. If you’re looking for a more in-depth exploration of food-borne illnesses—and the global forces that are making them a rising concern—look no further than a lively book called Food, Sex and Salmonella by David Waltner-Toews (Douglas & McIntryre 2008), a veterinarian at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, who specializes in diseases people get from animals. The book’s description warns that “treating our relationship with food as a series of one-off sensual encounters is like having random sex with a blindfold on: it may be fun, but it is also full of nasty surprises.” For more information and entertainment on this subject, you can also view this video featuring Dr. Waltner-Toews on the publisher’s web site.