OK to Eat Some Romaine, Watch for Labels

OK to Eat Some Romaine, Watch for Labels

Due to personal health information restrictions, OPH can not provide any additional information about the case, however, the person did report consumption of romaine lettuce. "This appears to have been accomplished through the market withdrawal request of November 20, 2018". There have been no reported deaths, but health officials say 43 people in 12 states have been sickened.

Investigators have been tracing back the romaine eaten by people sickened in the outbreak.

Officials with the CDC and FDA made the discovery during its investigation over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the Administration.

The FDA has urged growers, processors and sellers to label all individually packaged romaine products to identify the region and harvest date. The agency said Monday the romaine linked to the outbreak appears to be from the California's Central Coast region. If heads of romaine are being sold unwrapped, retailers are expected to prominently label the produce display, Gottlieb said.

If it's from the winter-growing regions of the US - the California desert region of the Imperial Valley, the desert region of Arizona in and around Yuma and Florida - it's fine, since people started getting sick before these regions started shipping out their product. Those areas appear to be safe because they hadn't been shipped when people became ill.

The commissioner also said that the industry would establish a task force to adopt standards for traceability of its products, as well as to determine how to stop future outbreaks.

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"Based on discussions with major producers and distributors, romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled with a harvest location and a harvest date", Gottlieb said.

Federal health officials said the most likely source of contamination is from the central coastal growing regions in northern and central California. The labels may be extended to other leafy greens, he said.

The current outbreak, the one from Yuma and the one from a year ago were caused by contamination of an E. coli strain known as O157:H7. There is usually a fever of less than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

The most significant symptoms are severe stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea and while the majority of diners sickened get well in five to seven days, five to 10 percent develop a potentially life-threatening type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

"We remain committed to identifying ways to decrease the incidence and impact of food borne illness outbreaks, and will continue to provide updates on our investigation and changes to our advice on romaine lettuce as more information becomes available", Gottlieb said.

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