Friday, June 27, 2008

FDA: Tomatoes In, Garbage Out

I've been checking the FDA web site several times a day for progress reports on the tomato trace-back investigation. Imagine my joy when I discovered, just a few minutes ago, that the FDA site had been updated with a new pdf document, Salmonella Contamination Response as of June 27, 2008.

I immediately downloaded the file, expecting it to contain an up-to-the-minute progress report – maybe even news as to the source of the Salmonella-contaminated tomatoes. To my chagrin, it was nothing more than a PR stunt.

This touted "update" is a combination text-and-cartoon description of the FDA's response to the tomato outbreak. The final stage in the investigation response?
FDA works with industry, states, foreign governments, and academia to prevent future outbreaks.
Who does the agency think it's kidding? The nation's consumers, as well as the produce industry and state and local health agencies, are looking for substantive answers – not PR stunts like this "update" or the FDA Commissioner's weekly so-called blog, "Andy's Take".

It's time for FDA to get its priorities straight and focus on the nation's food safety problems. If it does so, FDA's image problems will solve themselves.


  1. Is anyone looking into the possibility of cilantro being the source of the Salmonella contamination? Cilantro is also common to salsa, pico de gallo, and guacamole, and has been associated with previous outbreaks of Salmonella contamination. Do restaurants use a common source of chopped cilantro?

  2. Hi Linda,

    It's frustrating, but FDA and CDC are not very forthcoming about the details of what it's looking into. Your question is a good one, and I hope that the epidemiologists have taken this into account. But if they have, the information hasn't made it into the public releases.

    I'll keep an eye out for any information on this.

    Thanks for your comment.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.