E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce May Not Be Over
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other U.S. health agencies are continuing to investigate a multi-state outbreak of E. coli (Escherichia coli) that has sickened at least 98 people. The outbreak has been linked to romaine lettuce grown on a farm near Yuma, Arizona, but the precise source of the contamination, and whether it occurred during growing, harvesting, packaging, or distribution of the lettuce, is not yet known.
According to the FDA, romaine and other types of lettuce grown outside of the Yuma area are not believed to be involved in this outbreak. The winter growing season for romaine lettuce in the Yuma region is past, and produce harvested during the time of the outbreak is now beyond its 21-day shelf-life.
Most of the 98 people in 22 states who have become ill reported eating romaine lettuce between March 13 and April 20 – about a week before becoming sick – and several reported eating restaurant salads containing bagged, chopped lettuce. Consumers, grocers, and food service establishments should avoid chopped, whole head, or romaine hearts that originated in, or may have originated in, the Yuma growing region, according to the FDA.