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Food & Health : Biological Agents Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Texas reports 56 cases of Salmonella illness
By Sue Mueller
Jun 9, 2008 - 7:19:11 AM

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MONDAY JUNE 9, 2008 ( -- Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in Texas issued a statement on June 6, 2008 saying that health officials are still investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella linked to consumption of raw red tomatoes.

The Texas State health department said on its website that it has confirmed 56 cases in the state since mid-April.   Counties where cases were reported include Bell, Brazoria, Cameron, Coke, Collin, Dallas (5), Ector, Ellis, Fort Bend, Galveston (2), Hale, Harris (14), Hays (6), Jim Wells (2), Kaufman, Lubbock, Nueces (6), San Patricio, Swisher, Tarrant (3), Travis, Victoria (2) and Williamson (2).

DSHS recommends cooking tomatoes at 145 degree F for at least 15 seconds to kill the pathogenic bacteria which may be more of a risk to children, elderly people and those with immune response compromised.

The FDA also said on June 7 that tomatoes from some states and countries are safe to eat. On the safe list are Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, Netherlands, Puerto Rico.   Cherry tomatoes, grape tomates, tomatoes sold with vine and grown at home regardless of its source pose no risk.

Nationwide, tainted tomatoes have sickened at least 150 people in 16 states.   Salmonella causes fever, diarrhea and stomach pain and symptoms in most healthy people come and go in no more than 7 days. The foodborne illness affects an estimated 40,000 a year in the United States.

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