New Jersey Reports More Cases of Salmonella From Tomatoes

Health officials have confirmed three more cases of New Jersey residents, two of them children, infected with salmonella linked to tainted tomatoes.

The three new cases, reported Tuesday, come days after the state Department of Health and Senior Services reported the first New Jersey case linked to an outbreak that has sickened more than 600 people nationwide.

Officials said the four people - a 7-year-old from Monmouth County, a 2-year-old from Bergen County, and two women, 34 and 41, from Camden County - got sick from May 23 to June 3.

Salmonella causes diarrhea and abdominal pain. Most people recover within a week without treatment.

The Bergen County boy has recovered and the women are not hospitalized. State health officials said they didn't have information about the status of the Monmouth County boy.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has linked the outbreak to consumption of some raw red plum, red Roma, round red tomatoes, and products containing these raw tomatoes.

On Friday, after a monthlong investigation into the possible source of salmonella-tainted tomatoes, FDA officials said inspectors were going to farms in Florida and Mexico.

Investigators were to pay special attention to big packing houses or distribution warehouses that handle tomatoes from many farms and where contamination could be spread, leading to what now appears to be the nation's largest-ever salmonella outbreak from tomatoes.

The FDA's Web site has a list of areas of Mexico and Florida that have now been cleared.

In New Jersey, officials have begun random inspections of wholesale produce processors and distributors to check the source of tomatoes shipped into the state. They're also looking at companies' record-keeping practices and handling procedures.

Federal officials say New Jersey tomatoes have been cleared. This year's crop will begin to be harvested next week, according to Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus.