The U.S. Food and Drug Agency has cleared fresh Florida tomatoes that are currently being harvested and all California tomatoes in connection with a salmonella scare in the U.S.

The FDA ruling comes as a relief to growers in North America's largest tomato-growing regions.

"(Investigators) are trying to determine if the tomatoes which are affected with the salmonella disease -- which they have deemed to be raw red plumb, red roma, and red round tomatoes -- if those are domestically grown tomatoes or imported," CNN's Sandra Endo told CTV's Canada AM Wednesday .

"It will likely take several more days -- if not a few weeks -- to determine the absolute source."

Since April, more than 165 people in 17 states have fallen ill to food poisoning after consuming foods with tomatoes in it.

New Mexico has seen 62 confirmed cases of the "Saintpaul" bacteria. A 67-year-old Texas cancer patient is believed to be the only death associated with the salmonella poisoning. There are no reported illnesses in Canada.

Farmers across the U.S. fear the health scare could end up costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Certainly, the economic scare is also very prominent to tomato farmers (in the U.S.)... All the crop and produce has just been sitting there in a warehouse," Endo said.

"A lot of these tomato farmers have already estimated damages to about $40 million (in Florida)."

The Canadian Food Inspection agency says no illnesses have been reported here. Canadian farmers had predicted a rise of business because Canada is not on the FDA's list of areas suspected in the outbreak.

"Basically it's law of supply and demand,'' Kristen Callow, General Manager of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, told the Canadian Press.

"When people are holding back their product because they haven't been eliminated as a source, definitely we're seeing an increased demand for our product because we have not been linked to the source and likely the prices will increase."

Maureen Sheehan, the marketing director for B.C. Hot House Foods Inc., said her company has heard from U.S. buyers, but Canadian farmers aren't necessarily able to comply with demand.

"Right now, (we) are in a position where most of our product is sold in advance. So, we're not able to take advantage of that," said Sheehan.

Some Canadian wholesalers warn that the health scare has hurt the industry as a whole.

"By today, there was no demand for tomatoes," said Lorie Goldfarb, vice-president of Toronto-based Morris Brown and Sons Ltd. on Tuesday.

Before the Florida tomatoes were cleared by the FDA, Goldfarb said, "Everybody took tomatoes off their sandwiches, took tomatoes out of the stores, they've really taken a hard press on this."

Goldfarb said his company actually had to begin taking tomatoes back from frustrated customers.

Investigators were looking at U.S. and Mexican farms as possible sources.

According to a representative from the New Mexico Department of Health, a preliminary inquiry shows that the rare salmonella strain probably came from Mexico.

"(Salmonella) patients in New Mexico bought tomatoes that came from Mexico," Deborah Busemeyer, communications director for the New Mexico health department, told in a phone interview on Tuesday. "We saw a link between certain stores (and the people getting sick)."

The Mexican embassy in the U.S. said the comments are "pure speculation." In an email sent to, spokesperson Ricardo Alday said Mexico is co-operating with the U.S. authorities investigating the problem and that the FDA has not determined that Mexican tomatoes are responsible.

With files from The Canadian Press