My tomatoes have caught a case of early blight. Is it safe to eat the them? The fruit themselves look fine, but I don't want to feed my family anything that's potentially dangerous.
Disclaimer: I haven't found any scientific studies confirming the following information. However, years of personal experience with this disease, and the reports of everyone who has done this, suggest that the following information is correct:
Early blight is a localized disease, which means it is not translocated in the plant, but affects only the areas where it has spread externally. The fungus can attack the fruit, in which case the fruit is generally inedible, and is disposed of.
The parts of the plant that aren't affected should grow naturally, unless a blight spot attacks the lower main stem, in which case you may see stunted growth, and this will affect fruit production/quality.
If there aren't any infections in the fruits themselves, they can be used as normal, because the fungus doesn't translocate, or enter the fruit internally.
I just wanted to come back and add my personal experience and anecdotal evidence.
Yes, it is safe to eat the fruit of plants infected with early blight. We've eaten many of the tomatoes from these plants. We simply threw away any that were squishy and undesirable (which we would have done anyway) and have eaten the rest without any ill effects what so ever.