It might be tomatoes; and it might not be tomatoes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not know what is causing the salmonella. The investigation into the source of the salmonella broadens to other produce, as the number of reported illnesses reaches a thousand people – with the numbers increasing:
“…Officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it is premature to declare jalapenos the lead suspect, and still list it with tomatoes, cilantro and serrano peppers as one of the common salsa ingredients under investigation. Officials also have stepped up testing of cilantro and serrano peppers, but “there is no specific ‘prime suspect,’ ” FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said.
As the number of illnesses tops 900, the stakes are high. If federal officials wait too long for proof, there’s a risk that more people will get sick. But if they single out the wrong food, a mistake could cost an industry millions of dollars. The tomato industry says it already has lost $100 million.”
This means that other food sectors, in addition to the tomato industry, might suffer a staggering financial set back. Understandably, people who are producing these perishable items are angry at the handling of this salmonella outbreak. As this investigation drags on, as millions of dollars are lost and as people are becoming ill from some food source, it is abundantly clear that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration needs a major overhaul. Presently, the agency can not fulfill its mandate of protecting citizens from unsafe products. This salmonella problem is a clarion call.