The illness so far has caused more than 50 people in Texas and New Mexico to become ill since the outbreak started in April.
As they work to determine the source, health officials are advising that people not eat any raw Roma or full-sized round tomatoes other than those sold attached to the vine or grown at home.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection that lives in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals. The bacteria are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.
In some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The infection can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, and then to other body sites and can cause death. Elderly people, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
Consumers also are advised to:
— Cook tomatoes at 145 degrees for at least 15 seconds to kill Salmonella;
— Avoid purchasing bruised or damaged tomatoes and discard any that appear spoiled;
— Thoroughly wash all tomatoes under running water;
— Refrigerate within two hours or discard cut, peeled or cooked tomatoes.