FRESNO, Calif. — California tomato growers are relieved that restaurants and grocery stores have announced the return of tomatoes to store shelves and menus. The move follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's clearing of most U.S. tomato-producing areas because tomatoes from these areas are not associated with the recent salmonella outbreak. California is the second leading producer of fresh tomatoes with the bringing in approximately $400 million.
"We understand the caution exercised by some restaurants and stores who may have stopped carrying tomatoes in light of the outbreak," said Ed Beckman, president of California Tomato Farmers, a cooperative representing approximately 80 percent of the fresh tomatoes produced in California. "However, now that government agencies have clearly removed all concern about tomatoes produced in California and several other states, we see no reason for restaurants and stores not to resume carrying tomatoes. We are encouraged by those who are doing so."
Chains who are returning tomatoes to their menus include Jack in the Box, Culver's Restaurants and Subway, the largest user of fresh tomatoes in the United States. Canadian operations of A&W and Tim Horton's also have resumed serving tomatoes.
Other restaurants to once again receive shipments of tomatoes include Burger King (The Associated Press).