The Food and Drug Administration says it’s getting close to finding out what caused a salmonella outbreak involving tomatoes.
Stores and restaurants all over the country have stopped selling tomatoes. The outbreak has already affected 17 states and has been associated with at least one death. Tomatoes grown in South Carolina are not affected, but so far, that’s not helping local produce stands. Homegrown tomatoes from the Palmetto state have been cleared by federal investigators. But some people still haven’t gotten the word that South Carolina-grown tomatoes are OK and sales of fresh tomatoes at the produce stands are down a little. The owners of a local produce stand say the salmonella problem comes from people picking and handling tomatoes with dirty hands. Local growers are more careful, they say, and it’s a shame some people haven’t gotten that message. “Because tomatoes are very healthy to eat, so it really hurts when there’s a scare like this,” Walters said. The FDA says it hopes to identify the source of the outbreak in the next few days.