Romaine lettuce harvested outside those regions "does not appear to be related to the current outbreak", the FDA said. It also will work with industry on educating the general public about the updated guidance. Wu agrees: "Other leafy greens are not now implicated in the E. coli outbreak, so until further notice it should be safe to consume these", she says.
Officials with the CDC and FDA made the discovery during its investigation over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the Administration. It will give consumers more information about where and when romaine lettuce on the market was grown, which is particularly useful during foodborne illness outbreaks. "One outcome could be to extend the commitment for labeling for origin and date of harvest to other leafy greens".
The recent moratorium on Romaine lettuce sales was set to be eased November 26 by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which is in the process of issuing new guidance for the industry following an outbreak of E. coli that has been attributed to Romaine lettuce.
The E. coli outbreak was first identified October 8, and the onset of the last reported illness was October 31, according to the FDA. "If consumers have already bought Romaine lettuce imported from the USA, they are advised to not consume it".
There is no recall of romaine lettuce in British Columbia, but several Island retailers have removed the item from store shelves or replaced it with romaine grown in area's known not to be have been affected by the outbreak.
The outbreak strain of E. coli has infected more than 40 people in a dozen USA states so far, according to public health investigators. Those winter regions weren't yet shipping when the illnesses began. It produces a Shiga toxin that in severe cases can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. But Canadian officials identified romaine as a common source of illnesses in Canada.
Most people who become ill from an E. coli infection will recover completely on their own. There were 210 cases, including five people who died and 96 who were hospitalized.
If you would like to find out more information, you can contact your nearest state and district health office accessible via the Health Ministry's portal here, or you could get in touch with the Malaysian Food and Safety Quality Division via Facebook here. It didn't matter if it was chopped, whole head or part of a mix.
There are 43 reported cases of E. coli, including two in MA, that have been linked to the consumption of romaine lettuce as of Monday night.
Growers and handlers in the region tightened food safety measures after the outbreak this spring, the industry says.