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Exact source of romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak still unknown

It’s 2019, and some romaine lettuce is still unsafe to eat. When the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration issued their warning about romaine lettuce back in November of 2018, they did so knowing they weren’t sure of the origin of the E. coli outbreak. Fast forward a couple months, to a whole new year, and they’ve yet to determine the source of the outbreak. They have narrowed it down, but they still can’t definitively say where the outbreak originates from.

While the CDC and FDA haven’t identified where the E. coli outbreak began, they have narrowed it down to “romaine lettuce grown in just a few California counties — Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Barbara — in the Central Coast region.” The FDA traced the outbreak back to “an irrigation system used by a single farm (Adams Bros. Farms)”. Unfortunately, this discovery doesn’t explain all of the E. coli illnesses, so the search for the source of the outbreak continues.

What exacerbates the issues for lettuce consumers most is people are purchasing prepackaged lettuce these days as opposed to full heads. When lettuce is cut, packaged, and shipped in this manner it gives bacteria place and amount of time grow. To help with the identification of where any lettuce in question was grown, most packages of lettuce should now come with a new stamp indicating when and where it was grown.

If it’s clear your lettuce was grown in Monterey, San Benito, or Santa Barbara, it’s still recommended you not eat it. If you aren’t sure where your lettuce was grown, it’s best to avoid eating it. Hopefully a new year brings new clarification from the CDC and FDA on a food many Americans consume on a daily basis.

To read the full report from Vox, click here: