Certain raw tomatoes are disappearing from salsa bars, produce sections, service delis, pizza parlors and even McDonald's restaurants in the Seattle area and across the nation as federal food-safety officials try to stop the spread of an unusual salmonella strain that has sickened people in 16 states, including Washington.
At least 145 cases of salmonellosis caused by the bacteria Salmonella Saintpaul have been reported since mid-April, including a teenager in Okanogan County. The Food and Drug Administration has linked the outbreak to three kinds of raw red tomatoes but is still trying to determine the specific type and source.
In the meantime, many supermarkets and restaurants are playing it safe by throwing out round red, red plum and red Roma tomatoes and products that may contain them. Mexican-food chains Taco Bell and Chipotle both pulled raw tomatoes from their menus, as did many Subway sandwich shop locations.