Some romaine lettuce is okay to eat, but double check the labels


The CFIA is also implementing additional control measures to ensure products from California's Central Coast region are not being admitted to Canada, including greater scrutiny of product destined for this country.

At least 43 people in 12 states and 22 people in Canada have been sickened in the outbreak. The FDA last week advised anyone who had romaine lettuce in their homes or businesses to withdraw and destroy the leafy greens. "Our investigation at this point suggests that romaine lettuce associated with the outbreak comes from areas of California that grow romaine lettuce over the summer months, and that the outbreak appears to be related to "end of season" romaine lettuce harvested from these areas". It says romaine from those places wasn't yet shipping when the illnesses began.

U.S. health officials say it's OK to eat some romaine lettuce again.

The current outbreak, the one from Yuma and the one from past year were caused by contamination of an E. coli strain known as O157:H7.

The agency said that going forward romaine lettuce grown in the Central Coast region of California should be discarded, while product from elsewhere was no longer subject to a warning.

Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine also does not appear to be affected in the outbreak.

Now that winter has settled into applicable parts of the U.S., romaine lettuce crops have transitioned to desert regions in California and Arizona, as well as Florida.

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That's up from 32 people sickened, including 13 hospitalized, in 11 states last week, and there could be more cases coming.

The FDA has urged growers, processors and sellers to label all individually packaged romaine products to identify the region and harvest date.

Federal investigators believe that the E. coli strain, known as O157:H7, causing the outbreak resembles the one that caused an outbreak in the fall of 2017 in the United States and Canada.

Even though romaine from the Yuma, Arizona, region is not implicated in the current outbreak, it was blamed for an E. coli outbreak this spring that sickened more than 200 people and killed five.

Canadian officials are advising the food industry and importers not to import romaine from the California region identified by the FDA. USA investigators never specified which salad green might be to blame for those illnesses, which happened around the same time of year as the current outbreak.

McEntire said the industry is considering multiple theories, including whether there is something about romaine that makes it more susceptible to contamination. "There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these sources'".

"Based on further discussions with the leafy greens industry and with agricultural authorities, we have begun to narrow the location in which we believe the contaminated romaine in the current outbreak was grown", Gottlieb said.