A nationwide alert has been issued that certain types of tomatoes appear to be linked to an uncommon and severe form of salmonella that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections. Especially at risk were young children and the elderly.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was investigating the cause of the outbreak but said preliminary data suggested the cause was raw plum, Roma and round red tomatoes. It advised that people eat only cherry and grape tomatoes and those sold with the vine still attached.
The agency said it had received reports of 167 cases of illnesses caused by Salmonella Saint Paul and at least 23 hospitalizations since mid-April.
If you or someone you know became severely ill after eating a tomato, you may want to contact a lawyer.
The FDA noted that salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea (which can be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. More severe illness can occur if the organism gets into the bloodstream.
Health officials said that besides being careful about eating raw tomatoes, consumers should also be aware that raw tomatoes are often used in making other consumables such as fresh salsa and guacamole. The FDA advised restaurants, grocery stores, and food service operators not to sell certain tomatoes or products made using those tomatoes.
Many local restaurants and a number of national restaurant chains including McDonald's, Burger King and Outback Steakhouse removed tomatoes from their menus following the federal recommendations.
The FDA said tomatoes from about half the states were NOT associated with the outbreak, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and California. But tomatoes from many states and other countries were still suspected of causing illnesses.
Kline & Specter PC, a Philadelphia-based law firm with some 30 attorneys, several of whom are also highly skilled doctors, has had success litigating product liability lawsuits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and nationwide. For a free evaluation of a possible tomato lawsuit, you may want to contact an attorney.
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