U.S. fresh produce groups react to E. coli outbreak linked to Arizona-grown lettuce
After the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a connection between a multistate E. coli outbreak and romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, leading industry groups have offered their deepest sympathies to those affected.
In a joint statement, the Produce Marketing Association, Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, United Fresh and Western Growers said they were cooperating fully with government and working closely to further identify the specific source of this outbreak.
"Specifically, government officials are advising consumers not to consume chopped, bagged romaine grown in Yuma. At this time, this advisory only applies to chopped, bagged romaine, not other forms of romaine such as whole heads or hearts," the groups said.
"This advisory also does not apply to romaine grown elsewhere, including California. Consumers may check with their retailer and/or restaurant to assist them in identifying product origin.
"Nearly all of the romaine lettuce now being harvested and shipped throughout the United States is from California growing areas, and is not implicated in the outbreak."
They said the leafy greens community took the responsibility for producing fresh produce "very seriously".
"Leafy greens food-safety programs in both California and Arizona are the most rigorous in today’s produce industry," the groups said.
"Both programs include mandatory farm food safety practices, and frequent government audits to ensure those practices are being followed."
Photo: Nick Youngson, Alphastock Images