WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration announced plans with the produce industry to undertake a study of foodborne illnesses caused by tomatoes. The Tomato Safety Initiative is modeled after the Leafy Greens Safety Initiative implemented last August. The agency developed the program in response to recurring outbreaks of salmonella poisoning associated with fresh and fresh-cut tomatoes, primarily from Virginia and Florida, over the past 10 years. FDA will commence the study next month with visits to a number of Virginia tomato farms and packing facilities to assess food safety practices. Larger goals will include industry outreach, research and future outbreak response, according to officials.
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