Wednesday, January 10, 2018 Update:
The following information is a media statement released by the CDC:
On January 10, 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections (STEC O157:H7) they had identified was linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over.
In the United States, CDC, several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continue to investigate a multi-state outbreak of 24 STEC O157:H7 infections in 15 states. Since CDC’s initial media statement on December 28, seven more illnesses have been added to this investigation. The last reported illness started on December 12, 2017.
The likely source of the outbreak in the United States appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became ill. Leafy greens typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, it is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale. Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of illnesses there, but the source of the romaine lettuce or where it became contaminated is unknown.
At this time, the CDC recommends to consumers that U.S. residents avoid any particular food given the short shelf life of leafy greens and because a specific type of leafy greens has not been identified.
Friday, January 5, 2018 Update:
Our Produce Alliance team has actively reached out to our partners at Greengate, D'Arrigo, Church Brothers, and a series of others in order to continue our own investigation into the matter and ensure all quality assurance and food safety measures are met.
Below is sourced from an article released on The Produce News on Friday, January 5th:
As it currently stands, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, several states, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Public Health Agency of Canada currently reported that the E. coli has resulted in two deaths and nearly 60 illnesses in the United States and Canada.
In the United States, state and local public health officials are interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started. CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among sick people, including leafy greens and romaine.
At Produce Alliance we promise to keep you informed and up to date with the latest news when it comes to the E. Coli outbreak. For further questions or information, please reach out to your Produce Alliance representative. See below updates from our partners.
*Source: The Produce News, December 5, 2018
Thursday, December 28, 2017 Update:
Since early December 2017, our Produce Alliance food safety team has been following the E.Coli outbreak found in romaine lettuce in Canada. "The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada. In the United States, state and local public health officials are interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started. CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among sick people, including leafy greens and romaine."
"Whole genome sequencing is being performed on samples of bacteria making people sick in the United States to give us information about whether these illnesses are related to the illnesses in Canada. Preliminary results show that the type of E. coli making people sick in both countries is closely related genetically, meaning the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection."
*Source: CDC.gov December 28, 2017
Industrywide Statement in Response to Outbreak
All we have are the facts available to us.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not identified what food likely caused this foodborne illness. No public agency has contacted any Romaine lettuce grower, shipper or processor and requested that they either stop shipping or recall product already in the marketplace.
- Even if this outbreak is actually confirmed to be caused by Romaine lettuce, it’s important to recognize this is a highly perishable product with a limited usable shelf life and it’s highly unlikely a specific affected lot would still be available for sale or in a home refrigerator with the last U.S. illness being reported on December 8 and the last Canadian illness reported December 12.
- Food safety remains a top priority of leafy greens farmers, shippers and processors and the industry has robust food safety programs in place that incorporate stringent government regulatory oversight.
- Our leading produce industry associations have and will continue to cooperate fully with public health officials investigating this foodborne illness outbreak.
- Anytime we see an outbreak of any foodborne illness, our hearts go out to the victims.
- United Fresh Produce Association
- Produce Marketing Association
- Canadian Produce Marketing Association
- Western Growers
- California Leafy Greens Agreement
- Arizona Leafy Greens Agreement