• Check the label: FDA says some romaine lettuce safe to eat

    By: Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Update 8:00 p.m. EST Nov. 26: The Food and Drug Administration has revised it’s warning against eating any romaine lettuce.

    The Associated Press reported Monday that the agency said the romaine lettuce affected by an E. coli outbreak appears to be from the Central Coast region of California. 

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    “Based on discussions with major producers and distributors, romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled with a harvest location and a harvest date,” the FDA said in a news release Monday. “Romaine lettuce entering the market can also be labeled as being hydroponically or greenhouse grown. If it does not have this information, you should not eat or use it.”

    “If consumers, retailers, and food service facilities are unable to identify that romaine lettuce products are not affected – which means determining that the products were grown outside the California regions that appear to be implicated in the current outbreak investigation -- we urge that these products not be purchased, or if purchased, be discarded or returned to the place of purchase.

    “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.”

    More information is at FDA.gov.

    Original report:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a food safety alert days before Thanksgiving as there has been a multistate outbreak of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce.

    An investigation by the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and public health and regulatory officials in several states and Canada found that the infections may be linked to the lettuce.

     

    “CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until we learn more about the outbreak,” the group said in the Tuesday alert. “This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available.”

    According to the alert, 32 people in 11 states reported they “have been infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7.” The reports of onset illnesses range from Oct. 8 to Oct. 31. Thirteen people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

    The CDC advised that restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any of the lettuce, even that included in mixed salad. Those with any kind of romaine lettuce in their home, opened or not, should throw it out. Areas of the fridge where the lettuce was stored should be sanitized and washed.

    Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea that lasts more than three days, diarrhea with blood in the stool, a high fever or vomiting to the point that you can’t keep anything down and passing little urine. 

    More information on the alert, including how to sanitize and clean your fridge and the latest outbreak information, is at CDC.gov.


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