Food Safety Alert: Romaine Lettuce
Updated: November 20th, 2018 10:13PM
This afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave food industry associations brief notice that they were issuing a public advisory telling consumers not to eat romaine lettuce and food industry not to sell or serve romaine due to an outbreak of E.coli 0157-H7.
This is an extremely broad warning to consumers to not eat any type of romaine from any growing region.
Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.
Despite our urging that industry could clearly identify some sources of romaine coming onto the market as not related to the outbreak, CDC and FDA also are requesting the voluntarily withdrawal of romaine lettuce before it enters commerce. Retailers and restaurants are being advised to stop selling any and all romaine lettuce products immediately.
Illness onset dates of this E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak affecting 32 people in 11 U.S. states range from October 8-October 31. The outbreak illnesses are occurring primarily in the upper Midwest and Northeast. In Canada, 18 people have been affected between the onset dates of October 15-November 1.
The best way to limit the impact of this outbreak is to solve it quickly. We are working aggressively with stakeholders to try to narrow the source of the outbreak so that FDA can withdraw this comprehensive advisory. If industry members receive a request from a regulator for traceback information, please respond as quickly as possible.
We are working cooperatively with the CDC, FDA and state agencies to ensure public safety and bring romaine lettuce back on the market as soon as possible.
The CDC announcement can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2018/o157h7-11-18/index.html. We at Belair Produce will continue to keep you updated as we learn more.
E.coli 0157-H7 Important Notes
People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after swallowing the germ.
For more information, see