Buy Local Pasadena Blog

Salmonella Flavored Tomatoes
June 19, 2008, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Food | Tags: , , , , , ,

Buying local or organic seems to be the current buzz in everyone’s bonnet. Tomatoes have taken the latest rap, causing salmonella scares all over the US (CA was, however, recently placed on the OK list!).  So can buying locally grown produce help keep our families safe from contaminated veggies???

Recall back in 2006 when contaminated spinach caused a big uproar. The bacterial contamination was traced back to tainted irrigation water at the farm. Those little bacteria grew on the spinach at the farm…and the long ride to the packing plant…and from the packing plant to the distributor….and from the distributor to the retailer, gave those bacteria a long time to grow.

Our current outbreak of salmonella flavored tomatoes looks tied to Florida and Mexico. Through the process of industrial farming and massive distribution these tomatoes have caused people across the US to become sick.

Imagine this: Putting a box of tomatoes in your car…driving them 500 miles to be cleaned and packaged…then putting them back in your car and driving them another 500 miles to a warehouse to sit until a retailer orders them. Now pack them up and drive them another 500 miles to a store where they sit until YOU buy them.  Seems like a lot of places for those tomatoes to get yucky!

Instead you could stop by your local farmer’s market and pick up some veggies from the guy that grew them a couple hours away. Chances are, they were picked that morning and driven to your market that day.  There’s still no guarantee it’s free from bacteria, but chances are a lot better that they’re fresh, clean, and ready for dinner!

My conclusion is, If you’re lucky enough to have a near-by farmer’s market, it’s best to get to know the farmers and ask how local their farm is (how far the fruits and veggies have to travel) or whether their just selling wholesale produce.


2 Comments so far
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I purchased my spray-free, salmonella-free tomatoes at the Sierra Madre Farmers’ Market just yesterday – still on the vine! And so tasty.

Comment by Tamara

ooh great advice! thanks for the research on the salmonella scare.

Comment by RR

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