One of your Fact sheets on canning tomato products (HYG-5337-09) said not to...

Asked September 17, 2015, 1:16 PM EDT

One of your Fact sheets on canning tomato products (HYG-5337-09) said not to can tomatoes off of dead or dying vines. Why is this? What can I do with these tomatoes?

Marion County Ohio

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. We do not encourage canning tomatoes from dead, dying or diseased vines because it is possible that some plant diseases may be in/on the fruit and survive the canning process and be harmful to humans. Since canned food are stored at room temperature, micro-organisms may continue to grow.

I would encourage you to eat tomatoes from these plants either fresh or cook and freeze them.

Thank you. I just want to clarify. It is okay to eat the tomatoes fresh. I could also cook and then freeze them. So making juice would be ok if I boiled it first. Then I could freeze it.

Would it be okay for my daughter who is two to consume the above described juice or myself if I were to become pregnant? I know that small children and pregnant women have to be more careful about things like this.

To my knowledge we do not have any research to support the complete safety or unsafety of this process when consumed by young children or pregnant women.

Traditional science tells me that freezing will stop the growth of any pathogens (microorganisms that can make us ill), therefore it should be a similar risk level to eating the tomatoes fresh.

If you are still concerned, then I would encourage you to not do it for your own piece of mind.