Some area restaurants, grocers still carry vine ripe goodness

Published 8:14 am Wednesday, June 18, 2008

By By Adrienne McKenzie
With the recent outbreak of salmonella in tomatoes, some Atmore restaurants and grocers have taken extra measures to ensure the safety of their patrons.
There are a number of local fast food restaurants that are currently not serving tomatoes, so those who enjoy the juicy fruit on their on-the-go meals must do without until their distributors tell them otherwise.
However, there are a few local restaurants who purchase their tomatoes locally and will continue to serve them.
Local tomatoes have not been infected with salmonella, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration Web site, www.fda.gov.
The Web site states that “at this time, FDA recommends consuming raw red plum, raw red Roma, or raw red round tomatoes only if grown and harvested from the following areas that have not been associated with the outbreak.”
Alabama is the first among many states that have been put on the FDA’s safe list.
Even though Alabama and many counties in Florida have been cleared from the tomato-salmonella scare, Kelley said many Whistle Stop patrons have been weary of ordering the fruit.
A few other restaurants that are continuing to serve tomatoes include Buster’s, David’s Catfish House and Dean’s Grill.
Many fast food chains have been told by their distributors that they are not allowed to serve tomatoes. Some local restaurants putting a hold on tomatoes include Arby’s, Burger King, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.
Whether a restaurant will continue to serve tomatoes is dependent upon where they purchase them.
When the salmonella outbreak occurred in tomatoes last week, area grocers disposed of any tomatoes that were on the shelves. However, both Winn Dixie and Southern Family Markets have been cleared to sell tomatoes.
Some tomato facts issued by the FDA and found at the Web site include:
The exact geographic location of where the outbreak started is not listed on the FDA Web site, but Alabama is among many states that are in the clear for tomato consumption.