Apr 28, 2018
Farm identified in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has identified one farm as a source of the whole-head romaine lettuce that sickened several people at a correctional facility in Alaska as part of a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7.  However, the agency has not determined where in the supply chain the contamination occurred.

Several produce industry organizations issued this joint statement on April 27:

“Since learning of this outbreak, we have been working with the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to understand everything we can about this outbreak and we will continue to do so. FDA continues to look for other sources of romaine that may be involved in this outbreak. With this new information identifying a farm, the produce industry can begin to focus our attention on learning how romaine from the Yuma, AZ region became a vehicle in this outbreak.

Our members who grow leafy greens are committed to doing everything possible to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. Food safety is our top priority and the produce industry has existing systems in place that will allow us to examine this issue comprehensively so that necessary changes can be incorporated into food safety programs utilized throughout the leafy greens industry.

Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement
California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement
Grower-Shipper Association of Central California
Produce Marketing Association
United Fresh Produce Association
Western Growers

Key new developments:

  • Today CDC added 14 more illnesses to the multi-state E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region, bringing the case count to 98.
  • Significantly, CDC also updated the latest illness onset date to April 20.
  • Meanwhile, FDA announced it has traced the whole-head romaine associated with the Alaska correctional facility illnesses to a farm in the Yuma area.
  • FDA cautioned that they have not determined where in the supply chain the contamination has occurred; i.e. it may or may not have occurred on the farm.
  • Today’s news indicates the traceback investigation is becoming increasingly complex as FDA seeks to identify sources that account for the illnesses in the outbreak.
  • FDA and CDC are continuing their investigations to bring more clarity to this outbreak.

For more information, see the joint statement below and visit CDC’s and FDA’s web pages also listed below. We will update you as more information becomes available.”

FDA’s latest update can be found here.
CDC’s latest update can be found here.


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