Fla. Tomato Growers Seek Millions in Salmonella Relief

Congress should write check to cover 'blunder' by FDA, other agencies
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2008 4:16 PM CDT
Tomato growers are hoping for federal compensation for losses sustained during the FDA's salmonella outbreak investigation.   (AP Photo/Mike Wintroath)
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(Newser) – Florida tomato growers are seeking millions from Congress to help pay for a "blatant blunder" by federal agencies in the salmonella investigation that has gravely damaged their sales, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. Conservative estimates put the losses of Florida’s growers at $100 million, with estimates reaching beyond $300 million when growers in other states and associated shipping and vending are included.

After seven weeks of inquiry, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to determine the exact source of the contamination—and are now considering jalapeño peppers and cilantro as possible culprits. "A housewife may say, ‘I am not even going to buy tomatoes anymore'—and now it may have not even been tomatoes,” laments a Florida trade adviser.