I was eating out yesterday when a big fat tomato slice arrived on my plate. My husband and I both looked at it like it was rotten. In my head I know that kitchen managers are professionals and food safety experts. Surely they must have chosen the right ones since the FDA warned everyone off raw red Roma, red plum or red round tomatoes (despite the confusing nature of the report).
We gingerly put the offending tomato off to the side, now wary of anything it touched. Unless a restaurant makes specific mention of what they're doing about the tomato situation, I don't want to see one in my meal. And if it is there, I want to be able to pick it off without contaminating any other food. Seems like a waste for restaurateurs, who are being stretched thin, to bother paying the current high tomato prices if the food goes to waste because they don't explain what they've bought.
Back when the FDA made its announcement 145 people had gotten sick. Now the total is 228. Certainly some tomato buyers are not absorbing the information.McDonald's, Burger King, Wal-Mart, Kroger and lots of other major restaurants and stores have just stopped selling tomatoes.McDonald's made a big splash with its announcement even though most people probably didn't even realize they had sandwiches with tomato (the chicken sandwich and its Big N Tasty burger). If there were a recall of tiny squares of pickles and onions, well, there might be trouble.
Tomatoes seem like such an unlikely carrier of salmonella. But Marler Clark, a lawyer who specializes in food recalls, gives a long history of tomatoes and salmonella here.
I am sorry for all the people who have gotten so sick and have had their livelihoods threatened. I also have to confess I'm one of the many people who hates the slimy texture of raw tomatoes, so I don't mind the tomato's vacation from the plate. I wouldn't mind if it were permanently segregated off the the side, either. And if there were going to be another crop brought down by safety concerns, I wouldn't have any trouble with it being the now seemingly omnipresent cilantro.
Hey little restaurants: enough with the tomatoes already