Investigation of E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Linked to Romaine from Salinas, California, November 2019
FDA continues to warn against eating romaine from Salinas; farm investigations continue
December 12, 2019
FDA, CDC, and state health authorities are investigating an outbreak of illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7 in the United States. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicates that romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region is a likely source of this outbreak. According to CDC, there have been 102 cases reported in 23 states. The latest date that one of these patients reports becoming ill was on November 18, 2019.
For Restaurants, Retailers, Suppliers and Distributors: Currently, the FDA does not have enough traceback information to identify the specific source of the contamination that would allow us to request a targeted recall from specific growers.
FDA requested that industry voluntarily withdraw romaine grown in Salinas from the market and is requesting that industry withhold distribution of Salinas romaine for the remainder of the growing season in Salinas. Without more specific traceback information, this was the most efficient way to ensure that contaminated romaine was off the market.
At this time, romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Salinas region has not been implicated in this outbreak investigation. Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine, which is voluntarily labeled as “indoor grown,” from any region does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these other sources.