In the past, fresh tomatoes were to blame for a salmonella outbreak, but with further research it was discovered that jalapeno peppers were responsible. It is important to note that just like with other fresh vegetables and fruits, tomatoes can become contaminated with pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella once they come into contact with these contaminants. On the other hand, the commonly linked food-borne illness with tomatoes is botulism which hatches as a result of incorrect canning methods.
Spread of botulism
The bacteria responsible for botulism and their spores are naturally present in soil. It is important to note that these spores reproduce and generate toxins at pH levels close to 7 or in non-acidic environments as well as if oxygen is absent. The canning procedure can create environments that are viable to the growth of botulism, particularly when completely ripe tomatoes are utilized since they are minimally acidic than the unripe ones.
What are the canning techniques?
The addition of bottled lemon juice or food-grade citric acid to every batch of tomatoes being processed will guarantee that they have proper acidity. The canning jars must be washed in hot soapy water and rinsed well before they are filled. The water should reach to a full boil before the canning jars are loaded into the canner and maintain the boil during the entire processing period. If in doubt, you can utilize a recipe from a reliable source such as a canning book.
What are the warning signs to watch out for?
If the seal on the home canned tomatoes opens, it must be discarded since they were already exposed to air, thus allowing the spread of pathogens that can cause food poisoning. You should also dispose of canned tomatoes if they have a cloudy appearance since this can indicate a possible food-borne illness.
Always bear in mind that botulism and other potential pathogens responsible for causing food poisoning can exist in commercially produced canned tomato products. You have to avoid canned tomato products that have bulges on the bottom or top part. Tomato products that appear incorrectly welded or have punctures or leaks must be avoided as well. When tomatoes in glass jars are purchased, they must readily pop once they are opened since this indicates that you have cracked an unbroken seal.
What is salmonella?
The outbreaks of salmonella can be traced back to raw tomatoes. Since the agricultural industry is growing increasingly, these outbreaks have the potential to affect millions of individuals. The safest way to ensure that an individual is not exposed to pathogens from fresh tomatoes is to fully cook them before eaten or used in a dish. It is best to that you are prepared to handle the symptoms of food poisoning if the condition is suspected. This is possible by enrolling in a first aid course today.