The compost bin is not the place for potentially tainted tomatoes.
That’s the word from Cedar Grove Composting in Maple Valley in the wake of recent cases nationally of people becoming ill after eating tomatoes with salmonella poisoning.
Due to the possible presence of salmonella in some tomatoes, Cedar Grove Composting and Waste Management, a countywide residential and commercial garbage hauler in King County, last week urged their customers to put suspect tomatoes and raw tomato products such as salsa in the garbage, not in curbside or home composting bins or worm bins.
The “cautionary” advice is in compliance with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) order for contaminated produce to go into the trash, said Rita Smith, a spokeswoman for Waste Management.
Cedar Grove Composting’s process “breaks down salmonella,” but during recalls or warnings on food items, “our policy is to follow USDA guidelines,” said Susan Thoman, Cedar Grove’s director of business development and marketing.
The number of illnesses attributed to salmonella-tainted tomatoes rose to 228 last week, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported
Infections have been found in 23 states since mid-April, according to CDC. In one case, a man in his 60s who died of cancer also had salmonella, but his death hasn’t been attributed to the outbreak of the poisoning.
Cases in Washington have been investigated as possibly being connected to the national salmonella problem.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can occur in raw food and cause intestinal distress.
Cedar Grove Compsoting, located on Cedar Grove Road Southeast, transforms grass, leaves, yard trimmings, food waste and wood waste into nutrient-rich compost.