Romaine salad was still on shelves at an Albertsons supermarket November 20 in Simi Valley, California. (Mark J. Terrill /…
Federal Health officials said Monday that only Romanian salad from some parts of California is unsafe to eat and Romaine salad comes into the market will now be labeled to give consumers information about when and where it was harvested.
If consumers, retailers and food services can not decide if the Romans were grown outside of California, they should not eat it and would throw it away, although part of it was eaten and nobody got sick, according to a long statement by Scott Gottlieb , Commissioner for Food and Drug Administration.
FDA officials said that the most likely source of contamination is from Central Coastal growing regions in northern and central California. Romain salad harvested outside these regions “does not seem to be related to the current outbreak,” said the FDA. Hydroponic and greenhouse romaine does not seem to have been affected at the outbreak. Romaine from these sources is safe to eat, said the FDA.
No widespread breeder, supplier, distributor or brand of Romaine Salad has been identified in the outbreak. Several major Roman salad producers have agreed to label products with a harvest date by region, and new Romans from different crop regions, including Florida and Arizona, are resumed in grocery stores.
The new warning from the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came as the number of people affected by the outbreak grew to 43 people in 12 states.
The updated information follows an unusual broad warning issued by federal health officials two days before thanksgiving and told consumers to throw away some Romaine salad that they may have already purchased. At the outbreak time, the majority of Romain was grown on the market in the Central Coast region of California. Since then, the harvest of romaine has stopped and shifted to the growing regions of the winter, including the eastern region of California in the imperial valley, desert region of Arizona in and around Yuma and Florida, Gottlieb’s statement says.
Roman lettuce grown in Mexico exported to the United States during the winter months. Smaller quantities are grown in other states.
“At this point, the FDA does not have data suggesting that some of these growing areas are involved in the current outbreak, which started well before any Romanian salad from these winter-growing places was available for harvesting,” says Gotttlieb’s statement. Hydroponic and Greenhouse Romaine does not seem to be related to the outbreak, he said.
“There is no recommendation for consumers or dealers to avoid using Romaine harvested from these sources.”
Investigators have traced back the Romans eaten by people who are ill in the outbreak. US officials also co-ordinate with the public health agency in Canada, which also investigates a similar outbreak. The Canadian Office reported 22 confirmed cases in three provinces: Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. The bacteria can contaminate a lot of oil agricultural products through contact with faeces from infected animals. Most E. coli strains are harmless to humans, but some varieties can cause serious disease.
Five people died in the last major outburst of contaminated romaine that lasted from March to June this year, leading to 210 cases in 36 states. The outbreak was tracked to Yuma, Ariz., Growing region, but investigators never definitively determined the exact source. FDAs Gottlieb has said that the leading suspect is contaminated channel water used by several farms.
Sickness in today’s outbreak started in October and it is not related to the Yuma outbreak. The strain in this has the same genetic fingerprints as the one that caused diseases last year in both the United States and Canada. Canada linked their cases to Romaine salad specifically, but American investigators just said that the origin was in green greens. The outbreak was declared in January. The exact origin was never determined.
All three outbreaks – the current, that of Yuma and last year – are caused by the contamination of an E. coli strain, known as O157: H7. It produces a Shiga toxin that can seriously lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.
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