Georgia Department of Agriculture Deputy Commissioner Terry Coleman said that Commissioner Tommy Irvin will be asking the state’s congressional delegation to procure disaster assistance for Georgia’s tomato growers.
“Part of the blame for the economic disaster to tomato growers could and should be attributed to federal agencies that singled out tomatoes as the sole suspect of the salmonella Saintpaul outbreak,” Irvin said.
“Although FDA eliminated Georgia tomatoes as a suspect from the beginning, the boycott by restaurants, retailers and the general public of all tomatoes sent a devastating blow through the fields ready for harvest,” he said. “When telling people that Georgia tomatoes were safe didn’t seem to be turning public opinion around fast enough, we held a tomato sandwich day here at the department to show that we were eating tomatoes and they were safe. We knew that none of us who had continued to eat Georgia grown tomatoes had gotten ill.”