It’s OK to eat some romaine lettuce again, FDA says

It’s OK to eat some romaine lettuce again, FDA says

It’s OK to eat some romaine lettuce again, FDA says

Though there is likely romaine lettuce coming from non-contaminated regions in the USA, the FDA says the U.S. market should have a "clean break" in the romaine lettuce supply chain in order to ensure that all possibly contaminated lettuce is purged from the market.

"We welcome the step and believe it's a meaningful action by the industry", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told POLITICO.

However, if you don't know where the lettuce is from, do not eat it, the CDC said.

"If consumers, retailers, and food service facilities are unable to identify that romaine lettuce products are not affected - which means determining that the products were grown outside the California regions that appear to be implicated in the current outbreak investigation -we urge that these products not be purchased, or if purchased, be discarded or returned to the place of purchase", he said.

"The FDA also has commitments from the romaine lettuce industry that such labelling will continue into the future and become standard for their products", Gottlieb said.

The Food and Drug Administration narrowed its blanket warning from last week, when it said people shouldn't eat any romaine because of an E. coli outbreak.

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Since romaine has a shelf life of about 21 days, health officials said last week they believed contaminated romaine could still be on the market or in people's homes.

This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.

That's up from 32 people sickened, including 13 hospitalized, in 11 states last week, and there could be more cases coming. The Canadian agency reported 22 confirmed cases in three provinces: Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. A common source of E. coli illness is raw fruits and vegetables that have come in contact with feces from infected animals. Most E. coli strains are harmless and indeed part of a healthy gut.

Narrowing down the source of the current outbreak is a priority for FDA and the industry, but it won't necessarily solve the industry's problems, nor clear up confusion for consumers. That outbreak was traced to the Yuma, Arizona, growing region, but investigators never conclusively determined the precise source. "Romaine lettuce entering the market can also be labeled as being hydroponically or greenhouse grown". That outbreak was declared over in January.

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

People of all ages are at risk of becoming infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, according to the FDA.

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