Food safety warnings are not “regulatory takings” by the government, and, therefore, Uncle Sam does not have to compensate tomato growers who lost big money when the public was warned about a 2008 Salmonella outbreak. Tomato “growers, packers, and shippers” in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have lost the claim they made for federal reimbursement after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mistakenly named certain tomatoes as the likely cause of a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak that later turned out to be caused by Mexican-grown jalapeño and serrano peppers. Attorneys for the growers said that FDA’s analysis of the outbreak in June 2008 was flawed and that the agency had no confirmation of a link between tomatoes and the outbreak. They said their clients should get “just compensation” from the government because the flawed public health warnings resulted in a market collapse for their tomatoes. Their argument in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims was that the government “appropriated a benefit to the Government and the public at the expense of the tomato farmers and producers.” In other words, the public health warnings were an FDA action that “constitutes a regulatory taking of the Plaintiffs’ perishable tomatoes.” Senior Federal Judge Lynn J. Bush, who was appointed to the claims court by former President Bill Clinton, was not buying any of it. He granted a government motion to dismiss the case and entered a final judgment in favor of the defendants. The 2008 Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak spread like wildfire and seemed to track the local availability of fresh produce. The outbreak took hold in Texas and New Mexico in May and continued throughout the summer until it spread across 43 states. By August, there were 1.442 confirmed cases of Salmonella Saintpaul. FDA’s Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys argued that takings claims based on government pronouncements are routinely rejected, and they cited numerous examples. FDA’s public health warnings came in June 2008, and it made clear that its investigation into the source of the Salmonella outbreak was continuing. The group that lost the claim involved tomato growers and distributors in the three states. When originally filed in 2013, their individual claims added up to about $40 million. Had these claims been successful, other growers probably would have joined the litigation, actions that might have driven up the costs to more than $100 million. In their original filing, the tomato growers claimed that the public health warnings brought an immediate cancellation of orders from national chains such as McDonald’s and Walmart, even though no recalls were involved. After starting out the year fetching $18 to $19 per box, Georgia tomato growers said the last third of their 2008 crop was left to rot in the fields.