FDA announces two E. coli outbreaks with genetic links to past romaine events - FreshFruitPortal.com

FDA announces two E. coli outbreaks with genetic links to past romaine events

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FDA announces two E. coli outbreaks with genetic links to past romaine events

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the FDA has announced two new E. coli outbreaks in the U.S. with genetic links to previous romaine lettuce events.

However, the organization says that a specific food product has not yet been identified for the new outbreaks, which have resulted in at least one death.

The two outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157: H7 (STEC) illnesses are under investigation by authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“We do not know what food is causing people to get sick or whether it involves an FDA-regulated food product,” said  Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response.  

“However, we have seen similar recurring, emerging, or persistent strains of E. coli in recent outbreaks. E. coli O157: H7 can contaminate many foods, and we cannot assume that the current outbreaks are linked to historically associated foods like romaine and other leafy greens. There is no information currently to indicate that people should avoid any specific food.”

One outbreak is "possibly linked" to the 2018 Yuma romaine E. coli outbreak, the FDA said. As of Oct. 28, a total of 21 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from eight states.

Of 16 ill people with information available, eight hospitalizations have been reported, including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. One death has been reported from Michigan.

The other outbreak is "possibly linked" to the 2019 Salinas romaine E. coli outbreak. As of October 28, a total of 23 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from 12 states.

Of 15 ill people with information available, 10 hospitalizations have been reported, including 2 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Yiannas added the FDA is issuing this update early in its investigation as part of its commitment to transparency and early communication.

“We are also working toward making a new resource available soon on our website to provide early updates on new and active investigations. We are closely working with our partners at the CDC and the states to pinpoint the sources of the E. coli O157: H7 illness outbreaks and will share information as it becomes available," he said.

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