Medical

FDA lifts romaine lettuce ban

FDA lifts romaine lettuce ban

If you have been keeping up with what has been happening in the United States, you would probably know that the country's federal health officials issued a warning to consumers two days before Thanksgiving (20th November), instructing them to dispose of any Romaine lettuce they may have recently bought. The contamination happened "well before" the winter romaine lettuce farming started, according to the FDA, which says it is unaware of any contamination that may be present at the new growing locations.

Romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled with information about when and where it was harvested, according to Gottlieb's statement.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said it is continuing its own investigation in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada (HC) into the current outbreak of E. coli O157.

Now that winter has settled into applicable parts of the U.S., romaine lettuce crops have transitioned to desert regions in California and Arizona, as well as Florida.

The commissioner also said that the industry would establish a task force to adopt standards for traceability of its products, as well as to determine how to stop future outbreaks.

If it's from the winter-growing regions of the USA - the California desert region of the Imperial Valley, the desert region of Arizona in and around Yuma and Florida - it's fine, since people started getting sick before these regions started shipping out their product.




The labeling arrangement was worked out as the produce industry called on the FDA to quickly narrow the scope of its warning so it wouldn't have to waste freshly harvested romaine. There have been no reported deaths, but health officials say 43 people in 12 states have been sickened. It noted the labels are voluntary, and that it will monitor whether to expand the measure to other leafy greens and produce. The FDA last week advised anyone who had romaine lettuce in their homes or businesses to withdraw and destroy the leafy greens.

However, just six months before the recent deadly outbreak, the Trump administration delayed the new regulations for at least four more years.

The FDA still hasn't identified a source of contamination in the latest outbreak.

"Romaine as a category has had a year that's been unfortunate", Whitaker said.

Leafy greens were also blamed for an E. coli outbreak a year ago. But officials in Canada identified romaine as a common source of illnesses there.

The FDA said there was no reason to believe that the romaine lettuce being grown in other large growing regions, including the California desert region of the Imperial Valley; the desert region of Arizona in and around Yuma; and Florida, would be contaminated.