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Salmonella outbreak traced to tomatoes in US restaurants

Nov 4, 2006 | AFP

Nearly 200 people have fallen ill after eating tomatoes contaminated with Salmonella, US health officials said, but stopped short of issuing a food warning.

"To date, 21 states have reported 183 cases," the US Food and Drug Administration said, the reports reaching a "peak in late September."

"This suggests that the outbreak is not ongoing," the FDA said, announcing the results of an investigation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with individual US states.

The contaminated tomatoes were eaten in restaurants, FDA said.

An FDA warning in September cleared supermarket shelves of spinach. Some that was grown in California had been contaminated with E. coli bacteria shipped to 20 states, killing one person and hospitalizing nearly 100 others.

No consumer warning for tomatoes was warranted at this time because the contaminated tomatoes were believed to have been consumed, destroyed or thrown out because they are perishable, the agency said.

The hardest hit states were Connecticut, Massachusetts and Minnesota.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

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