The new information from FDA is in. As we talk about here, there was a lot of sloppy journalism yesterday in which consumer and trade editors did not accurately report what was happening.
The story is that product from 19 Florida counties has been added to the “safe” list:
A certificate of origin from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is required.
If anyone is holding tomatoes, they need to check with their suppliers. If they are from these counties, you can get a certificate and use or sell the tomatoes.
We are, of course, thrilled that FDA is limiting the scope of its warning still further — but this is also adding to consumer confusion. In America, consumers want to take care of themselves, and if we require them to carry lists of allowed countries, states and, now, counties, in order to do that, farmers will sell a lot less produce.
It is very odd that at this point, FDA does not have enough trace back information to simply clear Florida of all implication in this outbreak. We look at the CDC map of the illnesses and we can’t imagine how it can be a Florida-based outbreak.