BELIZE DIARY: No Tomato Panic in Belize; Local Tomatoes on Supermarket Shelves
Belize City, Belize (HNN) -- As more states -- including West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- and countries have been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for having safe tomatoes. I continued buying tomatoes here in Belize.
I asked the manager of Brodies, my local supermarket, if the tomatoes were locally grown and he answered in the affirmative. Belize exports citrus, pineapples, bananas and other agricultural products but tomatoes don't seem to be among the products shipped from the country: Locals consume all of the fruit produced by Belizean farmers.
I have a gut feeling -- pardon the expression -- that the offending tomatoes causing the salmonella scare in the States are Mexican imports. Mexico, a major grower and exporter of tomatoes is not on the FDA list of safe states and countries in the story cited above. The FDA has cleared 20 states as having safe tomatoes. This is up from seven states on Monday, June 9.
Mexico and some counties in Florida now considered prime suspects:
Guatemala, a neighbor of both Mexico and Belize, is on the list of safe states and nations. The Brodies manager said no Mexican or Guatemalan tomatoes are on sale at his store on the Northern Highway.
Tomatoes are a staple in my diet and I attribute my good health to consuming the fruit, rich in antioxidants. Hardly a day goes by that I don't have a salad topped with plenty of sliced tomatoes.
Since April, 167 people in 17 states have become infected with Salmonella serotype Saintpaul, a rare strain that causes vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and fever, and can result in death.
The FDA has traced all of the cases back to people eating raw tomatoes, but has not pinpointed a source for the contamination.http://www.huntingtonnews.net/columns/080612-kinchen-columnsbelizediary.html