Health Care

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

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

Any romaine lettuce being sold now is nearly certainly not from the Yuma, Arizona region and so unlikely to carry the E. coli bacteria that's been making people sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. That was the message Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and if not exactly a thundering signal of "all clear", it's pretty close. "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", the CDC said.

The last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16 and the harvest season is over, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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.

Three more states - Iowa, Nebraska, and OR - have also reported cases, the CDC said.

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Most people recover from those symptoms within a week, but if the illness lasts longer than usual and seems to feel more severe, symptoms of the E. coli infection must be reported to a doctor or health professional, the agency said.

The outbreak, which began in March, has sickened 172 people in 32 states. Now, the CDC is warning consumers not to buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it's not from the Yuma, Arizona area.

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

The FDA said it will focus on identifying the factors that led to lettuce being contaminated across multiple supply chains.


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