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The Wall Street Journalreports that the nation’s tomato industry is looking for the federal government to compensate its members for losses incurred during the recent salmonella-related false alarm – to the tune of $100 million.

According to the story, Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Florida) has “introduced legislation Wednesday night that would give the nation's tomato growers and shippers $100 million to compensate for losses they incurred in the outbreak. The Agriculture Department would decide who qualifies, much like the way disaster assistance is carried out.”

Florida is a major tomato producer in the US.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month said that they believed tomatoes were responsible for a salmonella outbreak that to this point had sickened more than 1,200 people in 47 states…and then, weeks alter said that tomatoes could be safely consumed and that jalapeno peppers and Serrano peppers may be the culprits.

Tomato growers reportedly saw their sales go down 46 percent.

KC's View:
So not only does the federal government’s approach to food safety cost us in terms of the perception of competence, but now there could be a settlement to boot? Giving the tomato industry $100 million could set an unfortunate precedent…but then again, maybe that’s what’s needed to get the government headed in the right direction in this area when it comes to competence and transparency.