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Produce industry expects to ship some romaine again soon

29 November 2018
Produce industry expects to ship some romaine again soon

Though there is likely romaine lettuce coming from non-contaminated regions in the U.S., the FDA says the United States 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.

All romaine lettuce in the USA was pulled from store shelves November 20 in a recall led by the FDA and all consumers, restaurants, and other institutions advised to get rid of any romaine on hand. The FDA also noted hydroponically grown romaine and romaine grown in greenhouses aren't implicated in the outbreak.

The voluntary move is expected to take effect immediately and become the industry norm.

The agency said that going forward romaine lettuce grown in the Central Coast region of California should be discarded, while product from elsewhere was no longer subject to a warning. But Canadian officials identified romaine as a common source of illnesses in Canada. That bacteria came from a tainted drainage canal near an Arizona lettuce farm, investigators said.

As of Monday, the FDA said the outbreak has resulted in 43 people becoming ill in 12 states, with the last reported illness onset date on October 31.

The FDA says it has been talking with industry officials on product labeling that will include source of origin and date to help deal with any potential future recalls. Harvesting is just beginning in Yuma, Arizona, on the Mexican broder, and in Florida.

It's now safe to eat some romaine lettuce, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Monday.

There are some details that need to be worked out including how will the greens industry define regions for its labels.

The CFIA is also implementing additional control measures to ensure products from California's Central Coast region are not being admitted to Canada, including greater scrutiny of product destined for this country.

"It gets a little mind-boggling when you think about how you make it clear for consumers", McEntire said.

It also remains to be seen how quickly federal health officials will be able to pinpoint which region is responsible for the current outbreak. "It's likely that the implicated produce is from California". The people who have gotten sick recently because of the same outbreak have also been observed to be infected with the similar fingerprint, as far as the recent E. coli strain which infected quite a few people past year, is considered. The latest outbreak, which coincides with California's major growing season, doesn't appear to be connected.

"Those who are experiencing food poisoning symptoms after consuming Romaine lettuce are advised to seek immediate medical attention at the nearest clinic or hospital."