Economic impact of Georgia tomato production value losses due to the U.S. Salmonella outbreak
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued in 2008 a nationwide warning to consumers linking an outbreak of Salmonella to consumption of some raw red plum, red Roma, round red tomatoes, and products containing these types of raw tomatoes. A list of tomato growing areas that have not been associated with the outbreak includes Georgia tomatoes as acceptable for consumption. Although Georgia spring season tomatoes are safe for consumption, tomatoes produced in the state are subject to negative perceptions from consumers. Decreased demand for Georgia tomatoes that is due to a general U.S. tomato warning has resulted in diminished markets for all tomatoes. Total production values losses in the state are $13.9 million. Losses average $11,778 per acre for tomatoes not sold. Total Georgia grower expenses for 2008 tomatoes harvested and packed, but not sold, are an additional $1.6 million loss in farmer net income. Loss for tomatoes that were harvested but not sold is $6,111 per acre leading to total losses of $17,889 per acre. The loss in production value has negative impacts in the Georgia economy as decreased grower income leads to diminished economic activity. The decreased output impact totals $11.8 million, and combined with the decline in tomato sales, the total economic output decrease in the Georgia economy is $25.7 million.