Restaurants Stop Serving Tomatoes due to Salmonella Threat

by Kristen Dhalgren

NBC News

In a sign of just how big this latest salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes is, burger giant McDonalds is taking most tomatoes off of its menu nationwide.

16 states have now seen cases of salmonella.  The Food and Drug Administration still doesn't know where the outbreak originated, but it is warning people everywhere to take it seriously.

At McDonalds across the country, you can still get fries with that, but you won't get tomatoes.

The fast food giant is pulling raw tomatoes from its sandwiches after a widespread salmonella outbreak.

And McDonalds is not alone.

At Garcia's Kitchen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the message is clear no tomatoes until the Food and Drug Administration says it's ok.

Ginny Marquez of Garcia's Kitchen says, "there's a high risk right now with the salmonella and we don't want to do that to our customers at all.

New Mexico is one of 16 states that has seen the salmonella outbreak.

So far, at least 145 cases of the Saint Paul strain of salmonella have been reported. At least 23 people have been hospitalized.

And so nationwide, the FDA is urging caution as it continues to search for the cause of the outbreak it is advising against eating raw red roma, red plum, and red round tomatoes grown in most states.

Small cherry and grape tomatoes as well as those with the vine on are OK, but doctors say this strain of salmonella is worth taking seriously.

And so for now many of the nations restaurants are cutting most tomatoes off the menu.

For a lot more information and a list of states and countries that are harvesting uncontaminated tomatoes you can go to the Centers for Disease Control website:  http://www.cdc.gov.