HONOLULU – The Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) has confirmed that Hawai`i-grown tomatoes were notinvolved in the salmonella outbreak that has affected most of the nation.
“Hawai`i consumers can remain confident that tomatoes grown locally are safe to eat,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture. “We understand that some local tomato growers have lost sales due to the advisory on the mainland, which is not warranted because Hawai`i tomatoes have not been implicated.”
Last week, FDA issued a news release alerting consumers on the mainland about cases of salmonella traced to the consumption of certain types of raw tomatoes. However, the news release did not name Hawai`i as one of the states where tomatoes were not likely to be involved in the incidents. Some local fast food chains were also directed by their corporate headquarters on the Mainland to take tomatoes off the menu – even though Hawai`i tomatoes were being used.
Last Friday, HDOA requested that FDA place Hawai`i on the list of cleared states because Hawaii-grown tomatoes are not shipped to the U.S. Mainland due to a federal fruit fly quarantine and could not possibly be the source of the contaminated tomatoes. On Sunday morning, HDOA received notification from FDA that Hawai`i tomatoes were not involved and their news release was updated. http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/tomatoes.html