The costs of one of the largest salmonella outbreaks linked to tomatoes still are being tallied, just as are the effects on consumer confidence. For the short term, consumers seem to be taking in stride the removal of tomatoes from — and return to — restaurant menus and store shelves.
Adding to the difficulty is that tomatoes from different farms may be mixed together, making tracing an outbreak even more difficult. Commingling occurs, for example, when buyers such as restaurants request a specific-size tomato, so that batches of produce from several farms are hand-sorted and packed together before shipment.
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Roberts agreed that restaurant operators must do their part.