May 26, 2024

FDA Names Adam Bros Farming in Romaine E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

The FDA has named one farm in California where the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce was found. The farm is a ranch owned and operated by Adam Bros Farming, Inc., in Santa Barbara County. The bacteria was found in the sediment of an agricultural reservoir at the ranch.

Adams Bros Farm Romaine E. coli Outbreak

The bacteria matches those collected from patients who were sickened in this outbreak. Officials used whole genome sequencing (WGS) to identify the strain.

The FDA has confirmed that Adam Bros Farming has not shipped any romaine since November 20, 2018. Officials are working at the farm to try to discover how the contamination occurred and what actions should be taken before the next growing season begins.

Adams Bros Farming is cooperating with the FDA and CDC and will recall products that may be contaminated. There is no word if any romaine lettuce harvested at that farm is linked to any illnesses.

However, the FDA states that “the finding on this farm, however, does not explain all illnesses.” The government is still conducting traceback activities. The FDA is trying to discover what this farm has in common with other areas and farms that are being assessed.

So, the FDA has slightly modified its recommendations to consumers. Given that they found the outbreak pathogen on one farm, and the location of other farms identified in traceback, and the fact that lettuce that was on the market at the peak of the outbreak is beyond its shelf life, consumers no longer need to avoid romaine from San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, and Ventura Counties in California, provided that it was harvested after November 23, 2o18.

Romaine lettuce that is coming into the market now will be labeled, albeit voluntarily, with a harvest location and a harvest date, or if it was hydroponically- or greenhouse-grown. If the lettuce does not have this information, do not buy it or eat it.

The FDA is still recommending that consumers not buy any romaine lettuce that was grown in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Barbara counties in California. Romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of those counties does not appear to be related to this outbreak.

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