The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted updates to the number of illnesses believed to be linked to romaine harvested from the Salinas region.
According to the FDA, romaine lettuce harvested outside of the Salinas region has not been implicated in this outbreak. The FDA continues to actively investigate the cause of this outbreak. An investigation team consisting of staff from FDA, CDC, the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are investigating a common grower identified through traceback. This investigation involves assessing and sampling soil, animal droppings, compost, water and other potential environmental sources at the ranches of this grower. The samples and information collected during the farm investigation will be analyzed.
The LGMA continues to emphasize the following key points:
- Illnesses associated with current outbreaks are all in a similar time frame with the most recent onset date being December 1.
- Products implicated in current outbreaks are past their best by dates and should no longer be available for sale.
- The most likely item associated with current outbreaks is romaine from Salinas.
- The Salinas growing region is no longer harvesting or shipping romaine.
- Romaine harvested in other growing regions is not included in any current consumer advisory, nor is any other leafy greens variety.
- Leafy greens producers are voluntarily labeling all products containing romaine with information on the growing region and harvest date in an effort to assist consumers in their buying decisions.
The LGMA continues to work with government agencies to learn all we can about the root cause of these outbreaks so that our food safety practices can be improved to prevent future illnesses. As always, our thoughts are with those whose lives have been impacted in these outbreaks.