Local grown tomatoes are safe to eat

Abdul Karriaper
Abdul Karriaper

By Stephen Florino - bio | email

MOILILI (KHNL) -- Hawaii-grown tomatoes are safe.

That comes from officials from both the state and federal level, after a salmonella outbreak on the mainland. Since April, the FDA found 145 cases of salmonella from tomatoes in 16 states.

Officials are warning people to stay away from certain types.

But there's no way Hawaii-grown tomatoes are causing the problem.

Kokua Market stocks about a half dozen different types of tomatoes.

Every one of them is safe to eat.

"Everything is good," said Abdul Karriaper, Kokua Market produce manager. "We have mostly local tomatoes from Kahuku, Hauula, and we have local tomatoes also. All the other tomatoes like Roma, are all organic."

Because of a salmonella outbreak, the Food and Drug Administration warns people to stay away from raw red Roma, red plum, and red round tomatoes.

Officials are tracking down where the contaminated fruit came from.

However, Hawaii-grown tomatoes have been eliminated because they aren't shipped to the mainland.

Kokua Market's tomatoes are either organic or locally grown.

"To help the local farmers number one," said Karriaper.  "And number two, it's very fresh. You know they pick it up in the morning, and bring it to me in the afternoon."

Local McDonald's restaurants pulled tomatoes from its sandwiches for a day -- just as a precaution.

They use local tomatoes.

State health officials do not report any illness.

"If at all we get those kinds of information, we try to pull those items from the shelves," said Karriaper.

And that information appears like it won't come.

So you can feel safe about Hawaii-grown tomatoes.

"Definitely it's going to be okay," said Karriaper.

State Agriculture officials say 75% of tomatoes in Hawaii are grown here.

However, 25% are brought in.

So if you have any, you should check with the store on where they came from.

Managers at Safeway, Star Markets, and Foodland did not return our calls.