Chopped, bagged romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region

US: Government narrows E. coli outbreak search

According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is suspected in an E. coli outbreak that has hospitalized 22 people. To date, 35 cases have been reported in 11 states, the CDC said. No one has died. Three people have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, the CDC said in a statement.

No grower, supplier, distributor or brand has been identified as the outbreak's source. The CDC is advising consumers anywhere in the United States to dispose of any store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce.

The first case was reported on March 22, and six people were taken ill on March 26, the peak day of the outbreak so far, the CDC reported. At least eight people were taken ill in Idaho and eight in Pennsylvania, the CDC said.

Chopped, bagged romaine lettuce
U.S. government officials have already narrowed their search for the cause of an ongoing multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7-related foodborne illnesses to chopped, bagged romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region. Our deepest sympathies go out to those who have been impacted by this outbreak. 

"We are cooperating fully with government and working closely to further identify the specific source of this outbreak," says a statement from the Produce Marketing Association. Specifically, government officials are advising consumers not to consume chopped, bagged romaine grown in Yuma. At this time, this advisory only applies to chopped, bagged romaine, not other forms of romaine such as whole heads or hearts. This advisory also does not apply to romaine grown elsewhere, including California. Consumers may check with their retailer and/or restaurant to assist them in identifying product origin.

Nearly all of the romaine lettuce now being harvested and shipped throughout the United States is from California growing areas, and is not implicated in the outbreak.

The leafy greens community takes the responsibility for producing fresh produce very seriously. Leafy greens food-safety programs in both California and Arizona are the most rigorous in today’s produce industry, according to the Produce Marketing Association. Both programs include mandatory farm food safety practices, and frequent government audits to ensure those practices are being followed.

Updates will be presented as more information becomes available. For the latest government information, please visit FDA and CDC websites. 
 
For more information:
Cassidy Taylor
Produce Marketing Association
Tel: +1 (302) 781-5852

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