Romaine Lettuce Is Safe To Eat Again

Grant Boone
July 2, 2018

They say they are "continuing to investigate the outbreak to learn more about how the E. coli bacteria could have entered the water and ways this water could have contaminated romaine lettuce".

The illnesses in 36 states were previously traced to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, which provides most of the romaine sold in the USA during the winter.

"CDC laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in water samples taken from a canal in the Yuma growing region, "the CDC said Thursday".

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the outbreak has ended but work needs to be done to determine how and why this strain of E. coli got into the canals in Yuma, and how that led to contamination of lettuce from multiple farms.

Although investigators determined that the E. coli came from contaminated romaine lettuce grown in Arizona's Yuma region near the border with Southern California, the Food and Drug Administration has not been able to link the outbreak to one farm, processor or distributor. Both organizations said earlier that the tainted romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., region should have been out of circulation.

The controversial case received national attention, the AP reported. And yes, the romaine lettuce you buy at the store or pile on your plate at the salad bar now is safe to eat. It is also unclear how the pathogen contaminated the canal water.

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In this latest outbreak, the vaccine was given to more than 3,200 people, including front-line health care workers, and family members and friends who had contact with known Ebola victims.

The outbreak started in the spring and is now over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Alarm over the outbreak was relaxed somewhat in late May, after regulators confirmed that the harvesting season for romaine in Yuma had passed, and that the main USA source for romaine had shifted to California's Salinas Valley.

Ninety-six of those folks were sick enough to be hospitalized; 27 of those developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. A new cluster was reported the next day. Other canals are being tested, but no results have been announced.

Most people recover within one week. Other kinds of E. coli cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia.

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