Nov 9, 2020
Tanimura & Antle recalls romaine; Michigan reports E. coli cases

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development  (MDARD) is advising residents not to eat Tanimura & Antle  brand romaine lettuce packed as single heads, and the company has issued a recall of the lettuce.

MDARD issued its advisory, on Nov. 6, the same day the Salinas, California-based company recalled single heads of romaine.

Random testing by the state’s agriculture department found a sample with E. coli, and more testing by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services laboratory determined the strain is “highly related” to the strain linked to two cases being investigated in Michigan, according to news release from the state’s agriculture department.

Tanimura and Antle’s recall covers almost 4,000 cases of single heads of romaine with the Universal Product Code of 0-27918-20314-9. The Produce Traceability Initiative codes on the cartons are 571280289SRS1 and 571280290SRS1.

“At Tanimura & Antle, food safety is a number-one priority and the company prides itself on its preventative measures,” according to the company’s notice posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s website. “It is unlikely that this product remains at retail establishments due to the shelf life of lettuce and the number of days that have passed.”

The sample was from collected at a Walmart in Comstock Park, according to the Michigan agriculture department. According to the Tanimura & Antle notice, its recall “is based on the test result of a random sample collected and analyzed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of their routine sampling program.”

The Tanimura & Antle recall, however, does not list Michigan as a destination for the recalled romaine. The single heads of romaine were packed on Oct. 15-16, and were shipped to Alaska, Oregon, California, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Mexico, South Carolina, Washington, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Massachusetts, Illinois and Puerto Rico.

The recall and Michigan advisory comes as the FDA is investigating two E. coli outbreaks involving separate strains of the pathogen that “are recurring, emerging or persistent strains,” according to an Oct. 28 news release.

Those two strains are “genetically related” to E. coli outbreaks related to romaine lettuce: one from a 2019 outbreak that led to 23 illnesses, and another from a 2018 outbreak that led to 21 illnesses and one death. Each of the current outbreaks have two cases reported in Michigan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the Oct. 28 announcement, the FDA said there was no evidence to link the outbreaks to any specific foods, and that a pathogen strain being linked to a food safety event in the past does not prove a link to a current outbreak.


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