Salmonella Newport causes more than an estimated 100 000 infections annually in the United States. In 2002, tomatoes grown and packed on the eastern shore of Virginia contaminated with a pan-susceptible S. Newport strain caused illness in 510 patients in 26 states. In July–November 2005, the same strain caused illness in at least 72 patients in 16 states. We conducted a case-control study during the 2005 outbreak, enrolling 29 cases and 140 matched neighbourhood controls. Infection was associated with eating tomatoes (matched odds ratio 9·7, 95% confidence interval 3·3–34·9). Tomatoes were traced back to the eastern shore of Virginia, where the outbreak strain was isolated from pond water used to irrigate tomato fields. Two multistate outbreaks caused by one rare strain, and identification of that strain in irrigation ponds 2 years apart, suggest persistent contamination of tomato fields. Further efforts are needed to prevent produce contamination on farms and throughout the food supply chain.