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BREAKING 5pm 7-17-08 Tomatoes Are Now Safe to Eat Says FDA: Warning Lifted By Agency Today
Thursday, Jul 17, 2008 2:50pm
WASHINGTON, D.C. From CNN (By: Tom Pace, Talk of the Town) BREAKING: FOOD WARNING LIFTED 5pm 7-17-08  After weeks of worrying, and thousands of persons being sickened with salmonella, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) today lifted its warning about tomatoes being the source for the salmonella outbreak.

CNN reports that while the FDA
 lifted its warning on about tomatoes, on thursday, July 17th, the federal agency left in place a warning about raw jalapeņo and serrano peppers, having previously said those foods also may be linked to the outbreak.  

The source of the outbreak still isn't known -- and 20 to 30 reports of the illness are coming in per day -- but the FDA said the epidemic is "waning."

Salmonella Saintpaul -- a rare form of the bacteria -- has infected more than 1,190 people in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Canada since April, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 370 of those people became ill on or after June 1, the CDC said.

At least 224 people have been hospitalized. Two elderly men with pre-existing conditions died while infected with Salmonella Saintpaul, and the FDA said the infection could have contributed to their deaths. 

Investigators initially thought that certain types of tomatoes were the cource of the outbreak, while further investigation also cast suspicions on raw jalapeno and serrano peppers.

The scare prompted grocery chains nationwide to pull tomatoes from their shelves and some restaurants to stop offering them as ingredients.

Tommy Thompson, former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said earlier this month the scare had cut $450 million from tomato growers' income. 

Federal health investigators have visited farms in Florida, Texas and Mexico to try to determine the source of the outbreak, according to the CDC. 

The FDA has said that because raw jalapeņo and serrano peppers may be linked to the outbreak, people at risk for developing severe infections -- infants, elderly people and people with compromised immune systems -- should avoid eating them

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