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Pass the Tomatoes, U.S. Says

July 21, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s OK to eat all kinds of tomatoes again, the U.S. declared Thursday — lifting its salmonella warning amid signs that the record outbreak, although not over, may finally be slowing.

Hot peppers still get a caution: The people most at risk of salmonella — including the elderly and people with weak immune systems — should avoid fresh jalapenos and serranos, and any dishes that may contain them such as fresh salsa, federal health officials advised.

Investigators still don’t know what caused the salmonella outbreak, which has sickened 1,220 people in 42 states.

But Thursday’s move doesn’t mean that tomatoes harvested in the spring are cleared. It just means that the tomatoes in fields and stores today are safe to eat, said Dr. David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety chief.

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