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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 042-08
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Jessica Scaperotti: jscapero@health.nyc.gov;
Sara Markt: smarkt@health.nyc.gov
Celina De Leon: cdeleon@health.nyc.gov


HEALTH DEPARTMENT REMINDS NEW YORKERS TO AVOID CERTAIN TOMATOES DUE TO NATIONWIDE SALMONELLA OUTBREAK

Seven Cases of Illness Confirmed in New York City

NEW YORK CITY - June 18, 2008 - The Health Department has linked six new cases of gastrointestinal illness to salmonella, bringing the number of cases to seven in New York City. The new cases are part of a nationwide salmonella outbreak that has been linked to raw tomatoes. More than 200 people have been stricken nationwide, all with the sub-type Salmonella Saintpaul. The Health Department, saying that more cases may be confirmed in the coming days and weeks, reminded residents to avoid certain types of tomatoes while the outbreak continues.

Most tomatoes are safe to eat, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised consumers should avoid certain raw red plum, raw red Roma, raw red round tomatoes, and products containing these tomatoes. More details are available here. Restaurants and other food service establishments are also advised to check the FDA website for information and updates.

Consumers can also continue to eat cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, and tomatoes grown at home. These are not likely to be tainted with salmonella.

Preventing Salmonella

Even in the absence of an outbreak, consumers should take steps to ensure tomatoes and other vegetables are safe to eat:

  • Refrigerate cut, peel or cook vegetables within 2 hours. Otherwise, discard them.
  • Avoid purchasing bruised or damaged produce and discard any that appear spoiled.
  • Thoroughly wash all vegetable under running water.
  • Keep vegetables that will be consumed raw separate from raw meats and seafood.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot water and soap after preparing one type of food and before preparing another.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap after going to the bathroom and before preparing food
Salmonella - Who's at Risk?

Most people will recover from salmonella within a week without treatment. For some, however, the illness can lead to hospitalization or death. People at higher risk of complications include the elderly, young children, and those with weakened the immune systems. Salmonella causes mild to severe diarrhea, which can be dehydrating. Anyone who has symptoms (diarrhea, abdominal pain) and is concerned they might have salmonella can call their regular doctor.

Find more information from FDA on the current outbreak.

Find more general information on salmonell.

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