Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

In new big-bad-agri-business news, tomatoes are being recalled and chain restaurants are pulling menu items that use uncooked tomatoes.

As California health officials confirmed the state's second case related to a multistate salmonella outbreak, Bay Area supermarkets and restaurants on Monday scrambled to pull tomatoes off their shelves and menus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers nationwide during the weekend to avoid raw red plum, red Roma and round red tomatoes unless they were grown in certain states and countries.- By Ken McLaughlin, Sonia Narang and Sandra Gonzales Mercury News
This story continues to develop with no answers yet as to where/when the salmonella tainted tomatoes entered the market. Huge agricultural corporations, and gutted FDA funding-- not to mention the fact that many FDA officials worked previously for the very companies they should be monitoring, are the cause of these kinds of problems. We will see more of this to be sure. Consumers need to go to local sources, small restaurants, and sustainable businesses to be safe. The up side is that this will make CSA's and Farmer's markets more popular than ever. The downside is we will be seeing more sick people, made ill even as they try to eat healthy fruits and vegetables.

The FDA needs a major shake up. None of the candidates throughout this last year have taken a strong stand on food politics. This is one area where people and communities need to bring some pressure to bear, hold our representative's feet to the fire. Where does your local school district buy produce? Your local restaurants? Find out. Ask questions and get involved in promoting local sustainable agriculture. It is not only better for the environment, but seems that it is safer too.

Tomatoes are easy to grow-- and homegrown are pretty tasty. If this keeps up, DIY is going to be the in thing. Bucket-tomatoes anyone?