CDC Declares End to Latest E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine
As previously reported on this blog, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses that were likely linked to romaine lettuce. This latest outbreak, which began in Fall 2018, is not related to the E.coli outbreak that occurred in Spring 2018. We’ve previously covered the Spring 2018 outbreak, which was officially declared over on June 28 and may have been caused by concentrated animal feeding operations in the Yuma, Arizona area.
FDA determined in November 2018 that the Fall 2018 E.coli outbreak was linked to romaine lettuce grown in California during the fall of 2018. Consequently, under an agreement between FDA and a number of grower-shippers, grower-shippers agreed to label their romaine products with the region where they were grown and the approximate harvest date.
In its final update on the Fall 2018 outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce, the CDC declared that the outbreak appeared to be over. In total, from October 7, 2018, to December 4, 2018, there were 62 cases from 16 states and the District of Columbia. CDC previously identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in sediment collected within an agricultural water reservoir on an Adam Bros, Inc. farm in Santa Barbara County. The update notes that FDA is continuing to investigate how the E. coli bacteria could have entered the agricultural water reservoir, ways romaine lettuce from the farm could have been contaminated, and whether there are other sources of the outbreak.