The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that the third outbreak of pathogenic E. coli strain REPEXH02 is over.
The FDA indicated that its investigation will continue and a report will be forthcoming. The investigators expressed confidence that they could connect the strain to leafy greens consumption, but a specific type or brand was not identified. Since the beginning of the outbreak, CDC and FDA have not recommended that consumers avoid any product.
The industry has invested significantly in traceability to facilitate removal of tainted product from commerce. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) continues to convene experts to identify production practices that have a realistic chance of reducing the risk of contamination and transfer. The risk will never be zero, but we continue to monitor emerging science-based knowledge and support the leafy greens supply chain as they strive to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. If we are to get close to that goal, it will require sharing of data and a meaningful collaboration of the partners in the industry, academia and government says the PMA. It will also require a systems approach and continued investment into food safety research, says the association.