(June 17, 3:20 p.m.) Tomatoes soon will be back on the menu at Taco Bell.

Rob Poetsch, director of public relations for Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell Corp., said the fast-food chain has started to restock its locations with tomatoes from areas approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Poetsch said the decision announced June 16 by parent company Yum! Brands Inc., Louisville, Ky., also applies to A&W, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Long John Silver’s and Pizza Hut.

Meanwhile, The Canadian Press reported June 15 that Priszm LP, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in that country, also has started restocking its locations with tomatoes.

Texas Roadhouse

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported June 17 that another national, Louisville-based chain — Texas Roadhouse — had not yet resumed offering tomatoes in the wake of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul linked to roma, red plum and round red tomatoes. However, a company spokesman told that newspaper he expects the steakhouse chain to start carrying tomatoes within a week.

Numerous restaurants pulled tomatoes in early June after the FDA advised consumers not to eat the implicated varieties unless they are sourced from areas it had approved.

McDonald's Tomatoes

Spokeswoman Danya Proud said June 16 that the Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s USA plans to offer sliced tomatoes on its sandwiches within seven to 10 days. Proud said McDonald’s had been concerned not only about food safety but ensuring it could receive adequate volume from approved areas.

FDA has not identified the source of an outbreak that has led to 277 reported illnesses in 28 states, but its list of approved sourcing areas has grown to include nearly 40 states and six foreign countries.

Several restaurant chains — including Burger King, Chipotle and Subway — started the process of restocking their locations the week of June 9.

Meanwhile, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported June 16 that Kroger was restocking its stores with tomatoes. Several retailers, including Publix, Wal-Mart and Wegmans, had previously said they were offering tomatoes from approved areas.

Tomatoes return to Taco Bell
For complete USDA regional tomato f.o.b.s Go here.