The Produce Marketing Association has issued a statement on an ongoing E coli O157:H7 outbreak. Here it is:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just issued an update regarding the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region.
The agency has expanded its advice to the public to now avoid ALL romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region. The CDC advisory now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce; previously, they had identified only chopped, bagged romaine lettuce from the area. At this time, CDC reports there are 53 cases in 16 states, with 31 hospitalized and no deaths.
CDC updated its advice as a result of new information gained during its investigation; the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reports that a correctional facility in that state received whole head romaine grown in the Yuma area.
It is important to know that romaine sourced from coastal and central California, Florida, and central Mexico are not part of the current extended consumer alert.
We have and will continue to offer our food safety expertise and industry knowledge to the agencies, to help them get to the bottom of this problem as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, we continue to keep those impacted by this outbreak in our thoughts. Our consumers’ health and safety are of the utmost importance to the entire fresh produce industry.
Leafy greens food-safety programs in both California and Arizona are the most rigorous in today’s produce industry. Both programs include mandatory farm food safety practices, and frequent government audits to ensure those practices are being followed.
For the latest government information, please visit FDA and CDC websites.
We will continue to update you as new information becomes available.