U.S.: CDC declares Romaine-linked E. coli outbreak over
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Thursday said the multistate outbreak of E.coli linked to Arizona-grown Romaine lettuce now "appears to be over."
The outbreak led to 210 illnesses 36 states, including 96 hospitalizations and five deaths. No products were recalled, but the CDC said lettuce from the Yuma growing region was the "likely" source.
"CDC laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain of E. coli...in canal water samples taken from the Yuma growing region. FDA is continuing to investigate the outbreak to learn more about how the E. coli bacteria could have entered the water and ways this water could have contaminated romaine lettuce," it said.
According to the FDA, the last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16, and the harvest season has ended. Contaminated lettuce that made people sick in this outbreak should no longer be available.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) identified ill people in several Canadian provinces infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli.
The outbreak led to the recent creation of a Leafy Greens Food Safety Task Force to assess and address issues associated with foodborne illnesses.
The move was announced by the Arizona and California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), United Fresh Produce Association, Western Growers and other industry stakeholders.
Related story: Opinion: Romaine crisis creates anxiety for local farmers, but false claims about food safety hurt the industry