April 11, 2021

Director of FDA CORE on Romaine: “I like to call it poop in a cup”

After a lively presentation today, the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network Director Stic Harris, DVM, MPH took questions from the webinar audience. When asked if there was something about romaine lettuce that made it more susceptible to E. coli contamination than other leafy greens, Harris described the funnel-like shape of a head of romaine and said, "I like to call it poop in a cup." The question and answer session followed Harris's presentation called "FDA Grand Rounds: The CORE Network (or How I Learned to Love Lettuce…)" The goal of the webinar was to describe how the FDA works in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state agencies to identify outbreaks, stop them, analyze them, and, ideally, prevent from happening … [Read more...]

Second Mystery E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Over After Sickening 40

The second mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, also known as Unknown Source 2, which has been linked to leafy greens, is now over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the number six multistate outbreak of 2020, with 40 people sick in 19 states. Unfortunately, a specific type or brand of leafy greens was not identified as the source of this outbreak. This outbreak is different from the other two mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that occurred at the same time: Unknown Source 1 which was the number 8 outbreak of 2020, and Unknown Source 3 which was the number 9 outbreak of 2020. The patient case count by state is: Arizona (2), California (6), Illinois (2), Indiana (1), Kansas (4), Michigan (3), Minnesota (2), Missouri (3), North Dakota (4), Ohio … [Read more...]

CDC Investigates Third Mystery E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak; May be Romaine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a third mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least 12 people in 5 states. The other two outbreaks, which were announced earlier this month, have sickened a total of 44 people. And the outbreak notices seem to suggest that the illnesses may be associated with romaine lettuce and/or restaurants. In this new outbreak, the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 was found in a sample of recalled Tanimura & Antle single head romaine lettuce by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. But the government is insisting that isn't enough to link the romaine to the outbreak. They are still investigating to see if more products may be contaminated with the pathogen. Investigators are … [Read more...]

Third E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak May Be Linked to Romaine

At the end of October the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA announced two distinct E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that were not linked to any one food or facility. One may have been associated with romaine lettuce, and the other may have been associated with a restaurant. Today the FDA announced a third E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least twelve people in five states that may be associated with recalled romaine lettuce. The patient case count by state is: California (2), Illinois (4), Michigan (2), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), and Virginia (1). Five people have been hospitalized. The last illness onset date was October 14, 2020. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development found E. coli O157:H7 bacteria on a sample of Tanimura … [Read more...]

History of Romaine E. coli Outbreaks Over the Last Three Years

There has not yet been a romaine E. coli outbreak in the United States in 2020, but the year isn't over yet. Let's take a look back at the history of romaine E. coli outbreaks, including leafy greens, over the past three years. There was one outbreak in 2017, two in 2018 and three in 2019. In all of these outbreaks, the romaine lettuce in question was harvested either in the Yuma Arizona region or in the Central California region of the country. Many recalls were issued in regards to all of these outbreaks. This is the history of romaine E. coli outbreaks over the past three years. Leafy Greens E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in 2017 In November  2017, the CDC announced and E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to leafy greens. At least twenty-five people in 15 states were sickened. Nine … [Read more...]

New Romaine Lettuce Requirements in Canada After Outbreaks

New romaine lettuce requirements have been established by the Canadian government in the wake of multiple E. coli outbreaks linked to that product imported from the United States. This move caught industry off guard. From 2017 to 2019, romaine lettuce from California was linked to E. coli outbreaks in Canada and the United States. The Salinas Valley growing region was identified as a recurring source of some of these outbreaks. So temporary import measures put in place for romaine lettuce have been implemented to try to prevent contaminated food from entering the marketplace. As of October 7, 2020, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will require importers to either provide proof that romaine lettuce being imported does not originate from counties in the Salinas Valley, or … [Read more...]

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