Scare Bruises Tomato Growers


One Florida tomato grower says the FDA has made unproven accusations about the source of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds throughout the country. He says the scare is cutting into his profit instead of earning $16, he now gets $4 per box.

'We know we are going to have to deal with storms, with winds, with rain, with freezes, with pests, with disease, and we are ready to deal with that,' says Bob Spencer. 'We have never had to deal with the federal government scaring the consumer away from us.'

Spencer is the co-owner of West Coast Tomato, based in Palmetto. Though the FDA has cleared the tomatoes from this part of the state, he feels the FDA's actions have cast a dark cloud over all tomatoes.

FDA Best Practices are mandatory starting this month. Spencer says companies such as his have always followed these to prevent contamination.

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