Romaine remains on U.S. menus despite nationwide E.coli warning

Posted November 23, 2018

At the center of the Salinas Valley, Monterey County a year ago produced more than 40 million cartons - 24 heads to a carton - of romaine lettuce.

While we wait for the formal investigation to officially name the growing area, it's important to note that this is the third E. coli outbreak in the past year to involve romaine lettuce or leafy greens.

In every case, proper infection control measures are key: Officials are advising people to wash any refrigerator that has stored romaine lettuce and to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water before and after handling any holiday meat. But there is no recall, and only people in Quebec and Ontario, where 18 illnesses have been recorded, are being told to toss their produce. "The goal of this effort is to learn any information about the geographic region or specific farms that may be tied to this outbreak".

The import suspension comes in the wake of the outbreak of E. coli in lettuce in 11 states in the US.

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No deaths have been reported. But the way food is produced is another consideration.

After the Yuma outbreak, growers in California and Arizona increased the buffer zones between animal lots and produce fields, from 400 feet to 1,200 feet.

McLinton said his members value food safety.

The CDC is continuing to investigate where and how the contamination started.

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It's a good idea to know the symptoms of an E. coli infection as well. Ultimately, that rule may not be implemented, Sorscher said.

As CDC officials warn of a particularly unsafe strain of the bacteria, one business in St. Pete says they are profiting from the government's warning - saying their lettuce is totally safe. This time officials haven't been able yet to track the source, although in Canada no new cases have been reported since the end of October.

"E. coli bacteria pose a serious public health concern and the suspension of the importation of Romaine lettuce is a necessary and urgent step to protect the health of local consumers". There is no link between this new outbreak and the outbreak that occurred in the the Spring of 2018.

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