CHICAGO (AFP) — McDonalds pulled tomatoes from sandwiches served in the United States on Monday amid a nationwide Salmonella outbreak.
The move came two days after the Food and Drug Administration warned restaurants and retailers not to serve round or Roma tomatoes unless they were grown in areas untouched by the outbreak.
McDonald's said it was imposing a total ban on those types of tomatoes as a precautionary measure. The chain said it had received no reports of illness among its customers.
It will continue to serve grape tomatoes in salad as the FDA said they were unaffected by the contamination.
"The safety and well-being of our customers is a top priority. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but food safety and quality at McDonald's will not be compromised," the company said in a statement.
"Like all food businesses, we are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to look to the FDA to provide further guidance as more is known."
The FDA said at least 145 people across the country have been sickened by a rare strain of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Saintpaul, 23 of whom were hospitalized.
A number of other restaurant chains also pulled tomatoes from their menus, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, and retailers such as Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart pulled fresh tomatoes from their shelves.
Tomatoes are a common source of food-borne illness and the FDA launched a safety initiative last summer to raise awareness, noting that there were 12 different outbreaks of illness in the United States linked to tomatoes in the past decade.
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