FDA Probes Foods Served with Tomatoes

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The government is expanding its search for the source of the salmonella outbreak - more than two months after the first reported case.

More than 800 cases have been reported and bad tomatoes may not be the only culprit after all.

Tomatoes are still a prime suspect, but because the outbreak has gone on longer than expected the FDA activated its food emergency response network, enlisting the help of about 100 laboratories to track down the cause.

"It may be another food like cilantro or green onions or something served with tomatoes that was just overlooked to begin with," said Dr. Ban Mishu Allos of Vanderbilt University.

The mystery of the source has left officials stumped and farmers furious because they're losing crops.

"Before you can say it's an outbreak and stop eating tomatoes, there should be certain evidence that's exactly true," said Tom Nassif, CEO of Western Growers.

With would-be bountiful tomato crops wilting away on the vine, farmers now insist Congress should step in and investigate the outbreak, which is costing the industry an estimated $100 million in losses.

"There's going to be tomatoes in the field that go overripe, that go un-harvested. And the entire industry is going to be crawling along to stay alive," tomato farmer Tom Deardorff said.

Officials are now looking at whether tomatoes and other produce are being contaminated in the packing, shipping or watering process. Meanwhile the impact is being felt from the farmer to the grocery store to the street vendor.

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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