"There's a lot of romaine out there that has nothing to do with this outbreak and we want to make sure that product is available to consumers", Jennifer McEntire, vice president of food safety and technology at the United Fresh Produce Association, said Monday.
The investigation continues into where the recent romaine lettuce containing a strain of E. coli bacteria originated.
States affected by the E.coli outbreak include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin. For romaine that doesn't come in packaging, grocers and retailers are being asked to post the information by the register. The probe is still underway, but has been narrowed down to some areas in California that grew romaine lettuce over the summer. US 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. Romaine lettuce imported from Mexico should also be safe, the agency said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state authorities, continues to investigate a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections associated with consumption of romaine lettuce in the U.S. As of November 26, 2018, this outbreak has resulted in 43 people becoming ill in 12 states, with the last reported illness onset date being October 31, 2018. "Romaine lettuce entering the market can also be labeled as being hydroponically or greenhouse grown". So far, 32 people from 11 states across the USA have reportedly fallen sick after consuming Romaine lettuce. The agency said that 43 people had become sick in 12 states, and an additional 22 people in Canada also became ill. "The CDC has called out romaine - they didn't call out any other kind of lettuce or leafy green", Detwiler says.More news: Qatar to quit OPEC in 2019: energy minister
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The labeling is voluntary, and the industry said it will evaluate whether to extend it to other leafy greens. Twenty days is the average amount of time that passes between when a person falls ill and when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is alerted, according to the FDA. As no contaminated product has been found in the marketplace and the source of the contamination has not been identified, there have been no product recalls in Canada or the U.S associated with this outbreak.
It's not yet known how romaine got contaminated in the latest outbreak.
Canadian officials are advising the food industry and importers not to import romaine from the California region identified by the FDA.
The updated information follows an unusually broad warning that federal health officials issued two days before Thanksgiving, telling consumers to throw away any romaine lettuce they may already have purchased. The FDA said romaine lettuce from other locations should soon be labeled with harvest dates and regions, so consumers know that it's safe to eat.