California likely source of E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

FDA and CDC on Nov. 28 announced romaine lettuce grown in the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California is the likely source of a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7) that has sickened 43 people in 12 states and 22 people in Canada.

Judie Bizzozero, Content Director

November 29, 2018

1 Min Read
Romaine lettuce

Sixteen individuals have been hospitalized, and one individual suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported, according to CDC.

Preliminary traceback information indicates the affected romaine was harvested in the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California including San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Ventura counties. At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified. Romaine grown outside those regions, as well as lettuce grown hydroponically or in greenhouses, is most likely not affected and safe to consume.

Based on discussions with major producers and distributors, FDA announced a new voluntary leafy greens industry labeling plan where romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled with a harvest location and harvest date. Romaine lettuce entering the market also can be labeled as being hydroponically or greenhouse grown. The agency is advising consumers to avoid eating romaine that is not labeled or is harvested from the Central Coast of California.


About the Author(s)

Judie Bizzozero

Content Director, Informa Markets Health & Nutrition

Judie Bizzozero oversees food and beverage content strategy and development for the Health & Nutrition group at Informa Markets (which acquired VIRGO in 2014), including the Food & Beverage Insider, Natural Products Insider and SupplySide/Food ingredients North America brands. She reports on market trends, science-based ingredients, and challenges and solutions in the development of healthy foods and beverages. Bizzozero graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

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