FDA says harvest season over for E. coli-linked romaine lettuce

Desiree Burns
May 17, 2018

The most recent illnesses reported to CDC started when romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was likely still available in stores, restaurants, and in peoples' homes.

In good news for salad lovers everywhere, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now advising that it is safe to crunch into romaine lettuce once again.

"Romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is past its shelf life and is probably no longer being sold in stores or served in restaurants", the CDC said in a news release.

But because it takes 2 to 3 weeks from when a person gets sick with E. coli and when the case is reported to the CDC, the number of cases may still increase, reflecting cases that occurred when the tainted romaine was still available. Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, throw out any romaine lettuce if you're uncertain about where it was grown.

To date, 64 people have been hospitalized, with one death reported.

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Romaine lettuce is displayed on a shelf at a supermarket in San Rafael on April 23, 2018. The leafy greens industry has shifted to California over the past two months.

While most strains of the bacteria E. coli are harmless, others can cause serious illness.

The E. coli outbreak on romaine lettuce has hit Utah.

"It's a person who apparently eats a lot of lettuce", he said.

Talk to your health care provider if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department. As of May 15, the CDC was reporting three people were ill from the outbreak in Colorado.

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