Clarity Needed Amidst Tomato Contamination Confusion

    Heat-Processed Tomato Products Are Not a Potential Salmonella Risk

    APTOS, Calif., June 11 /CNW/ -- As consumers are being warned about
consuming certain raw tomatoes due to possible contamination with salmonella,
the Tomato Products Wellness Council ( emphasized today
that heat-processed tomato products -- such as sauces, soups, paste, ketchup
and juice -- remain a safe choice for consumers to continue enjoy. In
processing tomato products, heat reaches at least 160 degrees.

    "Salmonella and other pathogens are killed at 145 degrees," said Britt
Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., at the National Center for Food Safety & Technology of
the Illinois Institute of Technology. "Since tomato products are heat
processed at temperatures well above that, consumers can feel assured about
continuing to use them."

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research
Service, processed tomato products account for more than 80 percent of all
tomatoes consumed in the United States. Within hours of being picked from the
vine at peak ripeness, tomatoes harvested to become shelf-stable products are
cooked and sealed in containers. This not only guarantees their optimal flavor
and safety from salmonella and other food-borne pathogens, the heating process
also provides an enhanced value of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight
disease. Tomato products also offer important nutrients like vitamins A and C,
potassium and fiber. Clinical trials show heart-health and other benefits of
consuming tomato products.

    While some health experts traditionally have recommended shopping the
perimeter of the grocery store for the most nutritious options like fresh
produce, the center of the store may warrant a closer look, given salmonella
concerns and rising food costs. Canned whole or diced tomatoes can be used as
alternatives for raw tomatoes in summer favorites like salads and cold soups
like gazpacho, as well as salsas and other family favorites.

    For more information, tips and recipes, go to

    About the Tomato Products Wellness Council (TPWC)

    TPWC funds scientific research on tomato products and their link to
helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and
obesity. Its members are tomato growers, processors and product manufacturers.

For further information:

For further information: Stephenie Fu, +1-312-804-1790,, for the Tomato Products Wellness Council; Web Site:

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