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Romaine lettuce industry grapples with fallout from illnesses

CDC update on E.coli outbreak US

US growers and suppliers are just beginning to grapple with the fallout from an E. coli outbreak related to romaine lettuce that has sickened 32 people in 11 states.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week urged Americans not to eat any romaine lettuce because no common grower, supplier, distributor or brand had been identified. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb has since said the tainted lettuce likely originated in California.

The advisory issued November 20 -two days before Thanksgiving- will likely cause “a massive loss” for the industry, Michael Droke, who works in agricultural and cooperative law, told westernfarmpress.com.

CDC Update
Meanwhile, yesterday the CDC sent out an update on the multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce.

CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are now advising that US consumers not eat and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. This updated recommendation comes as CDC, FDA, health officials in several states, and Canada continue to investigate a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 illnesses linked to romaine lettuce.

If you do not know where your romaine lettuce is from, do not eat it. Romaine lettuce will be labeled with location information by region. It may take some time before these labels are available.

Romaine lettuce harvested from regions outside of the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California is not linked to this E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Romaine lettuce grown in greenhouses or hydroponically is also not linked to this outbreak.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.


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