In the summer of 2008 over 1,400 persons were confirmed ill with Salmonella, eventually traced to jalapeno peppers grown in Mexico. In the early stages of the investigation, FDA and other health officials raised concerns that the implicated product might instead be tomatoes. As a result, U.S. tomato growers, particularly in Florida, were hard hit as sales and shipments slowed.
Apparently in recognition of the threat to the State’s tomato growers a foodborne pathogen outbreak would present, the Florida Senate has passed a tomato food safety bill, in a near unanimous vote. According to businessweek.com:
"The measure that won approval Tuesday would set minimum safety standards and authorize the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to inspect farms, greenhouse and packing facilities."
This marks a fine example of why food safety legislation is not simply a matter of consumer protection. It is industry protection as well, and judging from the near global support this bill has, it is apparent that the Florida tomato industry is on board.