On January 27, the FDA provided an updated release detailing the findings of their investigations into a composite assessment of the 2020 outbreaks involving E. coli O157:H7. While the investigation is concluded, the FDA’s final report is forthcoming. Notably, the latest developments indicate that while this investigation has been tied to leafy greens, no specific type, brand, or supplier has been identified as a source of infection. Additionally, the investigation identified the outbreak strain in a sample of manure from a roadway in the vicinity of production sites of interest.
In a statement, PMA commented: "PMA acknowledges the effort and significant resources allocated to this comprehensive investigation and recognizes the broad cooperation demonstrated by the produce industry in the California Central Coast region during the fall crop production season. A systems-based approach with extensive collaboration is critical for the industry to continue to provide the safe, nutritious and delicious products that are essential to our population’s health."
"With respect to the ongoing, multipronged, efforts by associations, leafy greens industry consortia, Center for Produce Safety and CDFA advisory groups to tackle root cause analysis, we strongly encourage the FDA to initiate sharing of the details of the investigative findings with these groups at this time. This timing is critical to allow these private-public partnerships to fully capitalize on opportunities to provide science and risk-based guidance in advance of the rapidly approaching production season."
"The burden to ensure and maintain the safest food supply is not only for our industry to bear. PMA continues to strongly advocate for the investment in understanding root cause analysis, improving practices to support compliance with the Produce Safety Rule and Leafy Greens Action Plan, and as reinforced by the FDA’s latest findings, prioritizing broad cooperation across the co-regionalized agricultural sectors in implementing practices that mitigate the persistence and transfer of STEC from adjacent land and environmental reservoirs and within the crop production environment."