Romaine Lettuce Shipments Resume, But Safety Warnings Persist
Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its original advisory, saying that retail and restaurant shipments of romaine lettuce could resume, according to the Calfornia Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement.
Still, the latest update issued by FDA does still warn consumers and retailers about avoiding some products that may be contaminated with the Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak strain. As of November 28th, FDA says:
If romaine lettuce is labeled with harvest location and a harvest date, or is labeled as being hydroponically- or greenhouse-grown, the agency advises the public to avoid any product from the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California. Romaine lettuce from outside those regions need not be avoided. Any romaine lettuce that does not have these details on the label should not be eaten or used.
Romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine also does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these sources.
While officials have expressed that universal labeling could help curb the spread of an outbreak in the future, consumers still need to be cautious until such labeling--which is completely voluntary for manufacturers--is in place.
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