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post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
McDonalds announced it is going to stop using tomatoes in the US and attributes salmonella for the reason. What part do you think economics plays in the decision? Think about it- to be able to remove an expensive labor intensive item from the entire corporate inventory has to have huge ramifications. Personally I feel its more of a food cost decision than a food safety decision.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
post #2 of 29
I have seen many local fast food places pulling tomatoes(and pico de gallo) off of their menu. It really doesn't surprise me much that McDonalds is following suit. I'm usually one to criticize McDonalds for many of the things they do, but pulling the tomatoes seems more of a PR angle to me.
post #3 of 29
We pulled tomatoes from everything where I am...that means no tomatoes for our grill section to top our burgers or out cold sandwiches. Problem is, whenever theres a food scare and our clients hear about it, they'll want us to act on it period like when there was a similar issue with fresh spinach. We used frozen and Canadian sourced only but we still pulled it from our inventory. But we'll bring it back once the notice is lifted.
post #4 of 29
I doubt its food cost. More likely its liability driven. Given the FDA notice about salmonella contamination, it would only be a matter of time before someone would file suit against McDonalds for salmonella infection. It's most likely cheaper for McDonalds to pull the tomatoes from inventory and dump them than it would to defend such a lawsuit.
post #5 of 29
*trying to think of the menu items that have tomatoes in mcdonalds*
post #6 of 29
Color me stupid for asking, but … I thought that the germies are only located on the exterior of the produce i.e. surface contamination. The produce becomes infected because somebody forgot to wash their hands or some animal “marked” its territory and left behind some “transfer”.

Won’t washing the produce fix the problem?

Or is it that once the offending microbe is in place there is nothing to do but trash it?
post #7 of 29
i would contact your purveyor. they have to institute some form of buyback program so you don't simply take a loss. it is their responsibility to provide you with safe food.
post #8 of 29
Our executive chef 86'ed the 1 box we had in our big cooler. I think he wants to wait till the scare is over to order more. I personally think it's all overrated. A good washing is always a proper pratice. I'll bet the kids at some of the fast food places don't do that.
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
post #9 of 29
A good washing doesn't always mean 100% clean and salmonella doesn't go away that easily I think. Unless I'm mistaken, you can only really cook salmonella to death so fresh tomatoes are the only issue.
post #10 of 29
I think it's a P.R. move, although there is obviously a financial benefit, making the decision all the easier.
If there was no financial angle, you would see McDonalds and everyone else lower their menu costs accordingly, which no one is doing.

The FDA has only issued a warning at this point, because they haven't narrowed it down to where this has actually occured.
With such ambiguity, most restaurants are erring on the side of caution.
The general public is knee jerk in their reactions, and all they will read is the headline, and then have a negative response when they see a tomato.
Any tomato.

So I don't think McDonalds or anyone else is pulling tomatoes for a financial reason.
But they are realizing a financial benefit regardless.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #11 of 29
I have seen one or two comments on the news that indicates the salmonella has gotten into the tissue of the tomatoes. Not sure if that is the truth or even if its accurate reporting, but if it is true then no amount of washing will remove it.

Given the scope of situation based on todays news report I would suggest that this involves one or more of the major mega-growers. I would also suspect that these operations are using improperly composted manures for fertilizers.
post #12 of 29
With a number of fruits, and particularly tomatoes, it's possible for the salmonella to contaminate the inside of the fruit. Tomatoes continue to absorb water from their stem ends. That can happen when the tomatoes are washed, in which case you can contaminate all of the ones you're washing. So while washing is a good idea, and will remove microbes from the outside, there's no guarantee that it will get everything.
post #13 of 29
Things like this always raise questions in my mind. The foremost being........ Are our efforts to try and control bacteria either through irradiation or all of the hundreds of Anti-bacterial cleansers finally catching up with us???????
Yes there is always the ever present possibility that some farm hand, distribution worker took a crap and then didn't wash their hands but look at the scale of things here. These anti-bacterial soaps end up in the sewer and then water treatment plants and that water is eventually introduced back to the water table. Hasn't anyone ever realized that for all the bad bacteria these things kill there is an equal amount of good as well. They are indiscriminate killers.

There's a whole lot of truth to the old saying "That which doesn't kill us only makes us stronger". Funny how that works for all living organisms.

We're so ready to jump on any and all bandwagons that come along. Along those line I gotta ask....How many out there are being told to cut down on red meats by their Doc's because they jumped on (or in front of) the Atkins wagon.

And for those that want only organic produce.......Just exactly what do you think they use for fertilizer??????? Cow manure is an organic fertilizer.:rolleyes:

Then again, like everything else these days, there's gotta be a reason for the price to be screwed with so why not this. Look what issues in recent years have done for beef and meats.

New edit below:

For what it's worth we're here in Virginia and even though the local crop of vine ripened tomatoes has not really started to arrive yet there were producers locally that used more current methods in other words hot house varieties. Yet everyone has removed all but cherry, grape and the vine clusters from the shelves. There were so many other sources for tomatoes that were not affected but they were still pulled. It's a ridiculous knee jerk response that makes no sense.
The tomato farmers must have had a hard time meeting the demand for the new Bertoli pasta sauces. That is until now! DOOHHH!!!!
post #14 of 29
It does make sense. Its a knee jerk response to the threat of liability.
post #15 of 29
No. It doesn't. The way we see it here is that there are/were still tomatoes out there that could be/have been sold. There were only three areas that had been identified as problematic, South and Central Florida and Mexico. It was a knee jerk reaction for tomatoes to have been pulled and still remain unavailable after the problem areas have been established....Liability concerns or not.

The FDA identified that California, Georgia, New York, Canada, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic are among tomato producers on the safe list. The FDA also has cleared counties in North Florida, whose tomatoes were not widely available at the time of the outbreak. Again! There was no need to remove the affected varieties of tomatoes. All that had to be done was to identify where the tomatoes were from and accept only those that were grown from safe areas. If they couldn't be identified then you refuse them. A simple question to the produce vendor was all that was needed.

Now all that the total removal from store shelves and restaurant menus has accomplished is to panic the public about tomatoes. Last year, tomato growers enjoyed a bunker crop and tomatoes still sold for close to 3.50 a pound here in Virginia. With the knee jerk reaction to pull them, it's gonna take that 3.50lb and double it. No matter whether they were affected or not. No matter how you dress it.....pulling all Roma, Plum or round tomatoes out of circulation is a knee jerk response. JMHPO
post #16 of 29

I understand and agree completely with what you are saying. However to do as you suggest, which is completely logical in my mind, would require thinking and effort on the part of many in the food chain from farm to table. That would leave many opprotunities for mistakes as well as leaving corporations open to liability from those mistakes. The easiest, simplest and least risk route to take is to dump all the tomatoes both good and bad. In essence, we (the American public) "have" to throw out the baby with the bath water. We can thank our legal system for that.
post #17 of 29

I apologize if I seemed to "drive my point across"towards your previous reply. I've just reached the end of my rope and I'm outta room for more knots.:look: The whole scenario of this and many other things is wearing my tolerance for the stupidity of society very, very thin. This and many other things are playing out like many of the "powers" out there watched a remake of a bad B movie and took it as a blueprint for reality.:beer:
post #18 of 29

no apology is necessary:smiles: Someone has got to point out the silliness that has become rampant in our society, otherwise we will all run out of room for more knots:D

Speaking of tomatoes, I spotted a case of the "bedeviled" fruits at a foodservice outlet today. I almost bought them just to see if someone would warn me of the danger I was about to bring upon myself:D
post #19 of 29
The tomatoes in our restaurant are vine ripened, and local(texas), but a serious wash is in order. So many home cooks I think wash their produce, and a conscientious cook does to, but in a hurry it may get forgotten. As far as a PR thing with McDonalds, that may be true, but if I were responsible for the illness or, God forbid, death of an indiviual, when simply cutting off access would've prevented it, I think I would choose the cut off. It''l be soon I'm sure when Tomatoes'll be back. We live ina different world then whenI was a kid, so much chemicals and junk added to make things grow, this was bound to happen.
La bonne cuisine est la base du veritable bonheur
La bonne cuisine est la base du veritable bonheur
post #20 of 29
You are right, we live in a different era , one in which is governed by economics, greed and profit. Explain to me how the FDA can wait till 127 people in more then one state over a period of a week and a half before they post a notice or recall. Just shows how the government works. Its scary
post #21 of 29
I hadn't seen anything about the conataminated tomatoes, only heard other people talking about it. It wasn't up to me to pull them from the menu, so I took what we had in stock and sterilized them by letting them stand in 200 degree water for 1 minute then draining and drying. I put them in containers other than the box they came in. I was assuming the places like McDonalds and Taco Bell were using pre processed tomatoes. I didn't know if salmonella could be inside. We buy our tomatoes from Sysco, and now they have a sheet of paper inside saying they have passed FDA inspection and are safe for use. I posted the sheet near the service window so staff could see it or show it to customers who asked. Have only had one inquiry that I'm aware of.
post #22 of 29
So what are the tomatoes to avoid?
I really dont fancy a tomato free fortnight while we're in the US
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #23 of 29
Oh you're not missing anything. :D

Besides it's over.
post #24 of 29
Do you remember the great Spinach scare of 2006? Three died, a couple of hundred were sick.
With the tomato thing, there are around <400 folks sick. To avoid that, the tomato industry has been destroyed, the monetary loss to Florida alone will be around $700 million.
I see this as the height of government over reaction. You cannot guarantee 100% safety of the food chain. Just can't be done. Destroying an entire industry, and thousands of farmers to try and do what can't be done.

The "Disney World" mentality, the feeling that everything MUST be perfect, will sink us all.

If folks just took some personal responsibility, and WASHED their produce, all this would be avoided. Geez :mad:
post #25 of 29
This is what our society expects our government to do. Especially since ours is a society that puts an extremely high value on a human life. We go to extreme efforts to save significantly pre-term babies and the terminally ill. This is somewhat vague at the society as a whole level but it is very much evident at the family/ extended family level.

Additionally we have adopted a legal/ insurance system that promotes the placement of blame on someone other than self.

Crop insurance and government programs will keep the Florida tomatoe industry from going under. In the meantime there are attorneys looking for the information they need to get the affected families to file lawsuits. Insurance will pay the settlements and then raise their fees to the tomatoe growers who will pass the increase on through the food supply chain, who will inturn pass the increased cost on to the consumer.
post #26 of 29
To be honest, as a Tomatoes lover, life won't be the same without the existing of tomatoes in my daily cooking...

However, I think I will better stop consuming it, for the precaution before this Salmonella ruins my family health.
post #27 of 29
I have had tomatoes at three different restaurants over the last few days. Apparently the powers that be are getting an idea of where the problems are and are clearing many tomatoes for sale.

Last report I heard there were 582 confirmed cases of salmonella infection related to tomatoes.
post #28 of 29
I know groups and companies are just looking out for the consumers, however the FDA kind of overkilled the "recalls" per say. They did not even know where the tomatoe was coming from, but yet they stopped the sale of it from several locations around the country and the world.

Safety = good
Unwarranted safety = unprofitable and fear
post #29 of 29
If its your loved one who doesn't get sick or die which category do you consider the FDA's actions to fall under; safety or unwarranted safety?

Coversely, if your loved one gets sick and dies, were the
FDA's actions enough?
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