November 28, 2023

FDA Investigates Two E. coli Outbreaks That May Be Romaine

The FDA is investigating two E. coli outbreaks that may be caused by romaine lettuce. Those outbreaks were announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday, October 27, 2020. Both of these outbreaks are caused by E. coli strains that are genetically related to two previous romaine outbreaks: One in in 2019 from Salinas, California lettuce. and one in 2018 from Yuma, Arizona lettuce.

FDA Investigates Two E. coli Outbreaks That May Be Romaine

FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response said in a statement, “The FDA, along with the CDC and our state and local partners, are working to investigate two outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 (STEC) illnesses. We do not know what food is causing people to get sick or whether it involves an FDA-regulated food product. However, we have seen similar recurring, emerging or persistent strains of E. coli in recent outbreaks. E. coli O157:H7 can contaminate many foods, and we cannot assume that the current outbreaks are linked to historically associated f.oods like romaine and other leafy greens. There is no information currently to indicate that people should avoid any specific food.

“We are issuing this update early in our investigation as part of our continued commitment to transparency and early communication. We are also working toward making a new resource available soon on our website to provide early updates on new and active investigations.”

The first outbreak caused by bacteria related to the 2018 Salinas, California outbreak has sickened 21 people and hospitalized 8; one person has died. The second outbreak caused by bacteria related to the 2018 Yuma, Arizona lettuce outbreak has sickened 23 and hospitalized 8. Three people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.

In the report, FDA highlights their efforts to try to end these romaine-linked outbreaks, which have occurred every year since 2017. They have launched research studies and prioritized inspections and other surveillance activities at farms that were identified by traceback in the 2019 outbreaks.

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include a mild fever, nausea, vomiting, severe and painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is bloody and/or watery. If you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms, they should see a doctor as soon as possible.

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If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli O157:H7 infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.


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