By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In a follow-up on reports in recent days (HERE, HERE and HERE), Federal and state health officials are advising that consumers not eat and retailers not sell any romaine lettuce harvested from the Salinas, California growing region.
The multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections that has sickened at least 40 people in 16 states has been linked to the lettuce, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition, a total of 28 hospitalizations have been reported. Five people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a news brief Friday:
“Today, we are providing an important update into our investigation of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses which have sickened more than 40 people in 16 states. Our investigation has led us to farms in Salinas, California and while the FDA is sending investigators there to look for the source of contamination, we are updating our advice today to help protect the public health and to help ensure we contain this outbreak. Consumers should not eat any romaine lettuce harvested from Salinas, California. If romaine lettuce does not have labeling information for its growing area or the source cannot be confirmed, consumers should not eat or use the romaine. Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell romaine lettuce if they cannot confirm it is from outside Salinas. Suppliers, distributors and other supply chain partners should also not sell or ship any romaine lettuce from Salinas. At this time, there is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from other sources outside of Salinas or labeled as indoor, or hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown,” said Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas.
“Through DNA-fingerprinting, we have been able to associate this outbreak with past outbreaks. Any outbreak is a tragedy and everyone across the supply chain must do more to protect consumers. The lessons we have learned from previous romaine-linked outbreaks and the adoption of labeling and traceability best practices by many in the industry have facilitated our traceback efforts and helped us target our advice to a defined harvest region. Our goal with today’s advice is to limit exposure and help prevent additional people from becoming sick. But once again, this investigation also reinforces our recommendations that we have made to the leafy green industry: producers must continue to review their practices and all segments of the supply chain must improve traceability to enhance food safety. The FDA remains committed to improving the safety of leafy greens and traceability from farm to fork.”