Officals report no easing of tomato Salmonella outbreak

The extent of the nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to certain varieties of fresh tomatoes expanded again Thursday, as federal investigators reported 61 new illnesses since Monday, bringing the total cases to 228 in 23 states.

In a conference call with reporters, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials reported no breakthroughs in identifying the source of the tainted tomatoes. At least one promising lead has fallen through, they said.

The FDA reiterated that the outbreak is linked to only three varieties of tomato: red Roma, red plum and red round, all sold without the stem attached. Cherry, grape, greenhouse-grown and vine-attached tomatoes are all considered safe. In addition, all tomatoes – including red Roma, red plum, and red round – grown in California and a long list of other states and countries have been cleared to eat.

Central Florida and Mexico — two of the nation's major sources of tomatoes in April, May and early June — have not been cleared of blame, though FDA officials say there's still some chance the contaminated tomatoes came from somewhere other than those two regions.

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