Insert everything I said in this post, except now the salmonella-tainted tomato scare has gone nationwide, whereas before, the FDA had been limiting its warning to Texas and New Mexico.

Here is Associated Press:

Federal officials hunted for the source of a salmonella outbreak in Connecticut and 16 other states linked to three types of raw tomatoes, while the list of supermarkets and restaurants yanking those varieties from shelves and menus grew.

Meanwhile, over on Ethicurean, blogger Mental Masala points us to Safeway’s interesting new ad campaign promoting industrially produced tomatoes.

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The supermarket chain is hyping what it calls “ridiculously robust” tomatoes, which inspires this observation from Mental:

Safeway is running ads declaring that their tomatoes are “robust,” a word that makes me think of strength and resilience, two qualities that should have nothing to do with burstingly juicy red orbs. These characteristics, however, are ridiculously common in tomatoes sold in the United States. Tomatoes need to be robust in order to make the long journeys required for year-round, nationwide availability, and so most are picked when green (and rock hard), put into storage, and when needed, gassed to change their color to something close to red.

That such tomatoes deliver not only anemic flavor, but also salmonella — well, that’s just wrong. I would end with a call for flinging supermarket tomatoes at the food-industry execs responsible for our rotten tomato culture, but given current conditions, that would be an incitement to real violence: Rock-hard, salmonella-infected projectiles could actually harm someone. I hope this news doesn’t leak into Bush’s bunker — he might try sending recalled tomatoes over to Iraq for use against “evildoers.”

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