The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States declared that as of January 15, 2020, the E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce from Salinas, California is over.
A total of 167 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 27 states. The Public Health Agency of Canada also reported several illnesses that were closely related genetically to illnesses in the United States.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from September 20 to December 21, 2019. Of 165 ill people with information available, 85 (52%) hospitalizations were reported, including 15 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported.
“The FDA traceback investigation for these outbreaks required investigators to go through hundreds of supply chain records to find a commonality to a single grower with multiple fields. We were able to narrow this down further to at least 10 fields in the lower Salinas Valley.”
“Investigators from the FDA, CDC, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Public Health, visited several of these fields and took a variety of samples from water, soil and compost. So far, sample results have come back negative for all of the three outbreak strains of E. coli O157:H7. However, we did find a strain of E. coli that is unrelated to any illnesses in a soil sample taken near a run-off point in a buffer zone between a field where product was harvested and where cattle are known to occasionally graze. This could be an important clue that will be further examined as our investigation continues. However, this clue does not explain the illnesses seen in these outbreaks.”
While the romaine growing season is now over in Salinas, an industry-wide meeting will be held on February 4 in Salinas to discuss research efforts in preventing another outbreak.
For more details, go here: https://bit.ly/2umUznx
Source: Food and Drug Administration January 15, 2020 news release