Hold the tomato!

The news today is just awful. Gas prices hit $4 a gallon and people are losing their homes to foreclosure. Now we are hit with the earth shattering news that our tomatoes may be packing salmanella and all 50 states are included in the warning.

There is just no way I can survive a hot steamy summer without my daily lunch dose of a tomato sandwich – always eaten on white bread with Blue Plate mayonnaise and consumed over the sink with the juice running down my elbows. Last year it was spinach and now my beloved tomato. Say it ain’t so!

WHAT TO AVOID

The Associated Press has compiled a list of what to look out for:

•Steer clear of red plum, Roma or round tomatoes. (Is there such a thing as a square tomato?) Do not eat these tomatoes even after cooking them.

•If you have red plum, Roma or round tomatoes in your home and are unsure of their source, contact the store or place of purchase.

•Choose cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes with the vine still attached and if you’ve got a friend raising the homegrown variety, I suggest you take him a coffee cake and hint like crazy that he share.

What about Farmers Market produce??

•Buying tomatoes at a farmers market instead of a grocery store does not a guarantee that they are safe. Consumers should ask retailers at farmers markets about the source of their tomatoes. If they were brought in my local farmers, they’re probably safe.

Those with compromised immune systems should be especially vigilant.

MORE INFORMATION

•Find more about the latest outbreak as well as proper handling of tomatoes and other fresh produce at www.fda.gov.

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