McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, others yank tomatoes

According to a news report from www.cnn.com, “McDonald’s, Wal-Mart and other U.S. chains have halted sales of some raw tomatoes as federal health officials work to trace the source of a multistate salmonella food poisoning outbreak.”

“Burger King, Outback Steakhouse and Taco Bell were among other restaurants voluntarily withdrawing tomatoes from their menus, following federal recommendations that consumers avoid red plum, red Roma or round red tomatoes unless they were grown in certain states and countries,” said the story. “McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest hamburger chain, stopped serving sliced tomatoes on its sandwiches as a precaution until the source of the bacterial infection is known, according to a statement Monday from spokeswoman Danya Proud. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company will continue serving grape tomatoes in its salads because no problems have been linked to that variety, she said.”

“The source of the tomatoes responsible for the illnesses in at least 16 states has not been pinpointed,” according to the article. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that since mid-April, 145 people infected with salmonella with the same “genetic fingerprint” have been identified. At least 23 people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. In downtown Chicago, travel agent Connie Semaitis, 49, bought a cheeseburger and a drink at a McDonald’s restaurant during lunch hour Monday. She said she was happy the chain was being cautious. “I’d rather be safe than sorry,” Semaitis said. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and homegrown tomatoes are likely not the source of the outbreak, federal officials said.”

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