The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners, previously reported on Dec. 12 that public health experts were tracking three separate outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce caused by three different strains of E. coli O157:H7. We also reported that, through the FDA’s traceback investigation, we were able to identify a common grower between each of these outbreaks in Salinas, California based on available supply chain information.
The CDC and FDA declared multiple e. Coli outbreaks associated with romaine lettuce over. The FDA is lifting the consumer advisory to avoid romaine lettuce from Salinas as the growing season for this region is over, and there is no longer a need for consumers to avoid it. There is also no need to avoid other produce products from Salinas.
The FDA and CDC have been tracking two multi-state romaine lettuce outbreaks. Today, federal health officials are declaring both multi-state romaine lettuce outbreaks over. One of the outbreaks sickened 167 people in 27 states. The other outbreak, linked to Fresh Express salad kits, sickened 10 people in five states.
There was also a third outbreak in Washington State that sickened 11 people. This outbreak has also been declared over.
The last reported illness onset date for all the outbreaks was Dec. 21. Based on this information, it appears that our Nov. 22 advisory to not eat romaine from Salinas played an important role in preventing illnesses and containing this outbreak because it prompted the removal of romaine lettuce from Salinas from the marketplace and warned consumers to throw away romaine from that growing region.
Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement
At a recent meeting of the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LFMA), leaders from throughout the California leafy greens community agreed it is industry’s responsibility to strengthen their mandatory food safety practices even further.
The LGMA acknowledged all of the work being done by FDA to help determine the exact cause of recent outbreaks. Details of the investigation are outlined in today’s statement but, to date, investigators have been unable to determine the source of the outbreaks.