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The federal government has expanded its investigation into an outbreak of salmonella illness to include items commonly eaten with tomatoes, health officials said Tuesday.

"Tomatoes are not off the hook," said Dr. David Acheson, associate commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration. "It's just that there's clearly a need to think beyond tomatoes."

The outbreak of illness linked to Salmonella Saintpaul, a rare form of the bacteria, has sickened 869 people, 107 of whom have been hospitalized, said Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The outbreak began in mid-April, and the most recent case was reported June 20, implying that the outbreak is ongoing, Tauxe said.

More than half the illnesses have been diagnosed in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, Tauxe said. Read full article »

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