The Food and Drug Administration narrowed its blanket warning from last week, when it said people shouldn't eat any romaine because of an E. coli outbreak. This year, romaine lettuce is the suspected vehicle for both the US and Canadian outbreaks.
The agency on Monday said romaine recently harvested in Arizona, Florida, Mexico, and California's Imperial Valley is OK to eat.
"We welcome the step and believe it's a meaningful action by the industry", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told POLITICO. Therefore, a straight warning has been given to the public by the CDC asking them to not eat any romaine lettuce.
In Canada, based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to romaine lettuce has been identified as a source of the outbreak, but the cause of contamination has not been identified. Ninety-six people were hospitalized (five of whom died) during the last outbreak in romaine lettuce, according to the CDC.
"The FDA believes it was critically important to have a clean break in the romaine supply available to consumers in the U.S.in order to purge the market of potentially contaminated romaine lettuce related to the current outbreak", Gottlieb said.
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The FDA said the E. coli O157:H7 strain causing the outbreak is similar to an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in the fall of 2017.
The labels could also help health officials identify specific regions during future outbreak investigations. Individuals who became ill are between 5 and 93 years of age.
This particular outbreak is slowly turning out to be a scary one, as the CDC has reported that almost thirteen people have also been recently hospitalized, and not only that, one of these patients has also developed kidney failure, Thankfully, no deaths have been reported till this point of time because of the outbreak.
To be compliant with the new guidance, packages of Romaine lettuce will need to include information about the date of harvest and the growing region, and retailers must include signage to assure customers that the lettuce was sourced from areas outside the recall zones. The CDC estimates 265,000 cases a year of illness from Shiga toxins from E. coli spread by animals and people, but just 30 deaths.
If you would like to find out more information, you can contact your nearest state and district health office accessible via the Health Ministry's portal here, or you could get in touch with the Malaysian Food and Safety Quality Division via Facebook here. While unpleasant and may lead to hospitalization, most people recover.
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.