Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce title=
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce
Reads 17346

(stock image)

By edhat staff

Another recall of romaine lettuce from Salinas, CA has been issued due to potential E.coli contamination.

A massive recall of romaine lettuce was also issued last year due to similar contamination and illness reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report more than 100 people in 23 states have been infected with a strain of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas area.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to the lettuce "to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness."

An initial safety alert was issued on November 22 with additional reports issued as the number of illnesses rose.

FDA reports it requested the "industry voluntarily withdraw romaine grown in Salinas from the market and is requesting that industry withhold distribution of Salinas romaine for the remainder of the growing season in Salinas. Without more specific traceback information, this was the most efficient way to ensure that contaminated romaine was off the market."

Whole heads od romaine, hearts of romaine, and precut lettuce and salad mixes should not be consumed or sold, advises the CDC.

The full report from the FDA can be found here.

Login to add Comments


Show Comments
jqb Dec 06, 2019 11:45 AM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

100 people didn't get sick because one person didn't wash their hands. That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works.

a-1575579587 Dec 05, 2019 12:59 PM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

My salad last night was Romaine lettuce, shredded carrot, finely chopped raw red beet, chopped red cabbage, yellow bell pepper ( from our garden), one tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, with homemade French dressing. Delicious. Feeling okay ri—-, uh now, um, urk. . . Uh . . . Oh . . . Hold on. I’ll be right back . . .

millimesa Dec 05, 2019 01:17 PM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

How long does this have to go on until something can be held accountable. Right now everyone thru the chain just has to take the lose.

a-1575585233 Dec 05, 2019 02:33 PM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

Be wary of salads that say "local lettuce" from Trader Jones'. We are not buying any of their premade salads after two instances of getting sick on them. The Obama administration tried to make water testing of ag water mandatory to catch pollution but the Trump administration has reversed the decision . So you know who to thank. "The Trump administration on Thursday announced the repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation that had ... Agricultural groups, an important political constituency for Mr. Trump, praised the repeal. ... and led to the largest effort to reverse a regulation in this organization's history. › 2019/09/12 › climate › trump-administration-roll...

Sam The Dog Dec 05, 2019 04:06 PM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

That repeal has nothing to do with food safety but sure, go ahead and blame this on Trump anyway.

a-1575603862 Dec 05, 2019 07:44 PM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

Gross water pollution in agricultural fields does not automatically mean that field workers are crapping where they work. Decaying septic systems, nearby animal feed lots leaching contaminated raw sewage into the aquifer, broken sewer lines, chemical plant discharge, etc. can all pollute ground water wells that are feeding into unregulated (thanks to the latest Trump administration reversal of Clean Water Act regulation) wells of irrigation water. Blaming field workers is a ludicrous and unfounded bunch of ... you know.

macpuzl Dec 05, 2019 10:42 PM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

OT, but the BBC recently had a photo similar to the one for this article, except their topic was Brexit, and was captioned "Leaf, or Romaine?"

a-1575630901 Dec 06, 2019 03:15 AM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

" ... Contaminated agricultural water is a prime suspect in these outbreaks. The Trump administration delayed implementation of new agricultural water testing rules, developed during the Obama administration, that were set to take effect last year.

The rules would require farmers to test four times per growing season for generic E. coli in agricultural water. Some farmers pushed back against the new rule, calling it confusing and unwieldy. The FDA decided to delay implementation. Now, large farms will be required to meet the requirements in January 2022, with small farms following in 2023 and very small farms in 2024.
But leafy greens industry officials say the delay in the rule isn’t to blame for the romaine lettuce outbreak, because the industry already performs the water tests on a monthly basis.

Still, the growers said they are frustrated that their own standards to prevent contamination — codified in the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement — have not resolved the problem.

“They are the most stringent and most scientifically based requirements on how to grow leafy greens,” said Sutton, who is also chairman of the marketing agreement.

After last year’s outbreak, the FDA determined the E. coli strain that sickened people across the country came from surface water rather than ground water pumped from an aquifer. As a result, the coalition of leafy green growers decided to ban the use of surface water unless it is treated with anti-bacterial chemicals 21 days before harvest.

Factotum Dec 06, 2019 09:01 AM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

So the farmers don't care unless a nanny state tells them what to do? How about consumers who don't care to wash fruits and vegetables before consumption which is a long standing practice in many places. Looking only to big government to blame and abdicate any sense of personal responsibility is the greater sickness.

a-1575631048 Dec 06, 2019 03:17 AM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

Scott Horsfall, CEO of the marketing agreement, said that gives the chemicals plenty of time to kill off E. coli and other pathogens.

“The FDA believes [the bacteria] dies off after four or five days,” Horsfall said. “We went to 21 days to be conservative.”

The coalition created its first industry standards to prevent pathogen contamination in 2007, a year after nearly 200 people became ill after eating spinach contaminated with E. coli. Nearly half were hospitalized, 31 developed kidney failure and three people died.

With outbreaks continuing, the industry took further measures, requiring farther setbacks of septic tanks from agricultural fields, and tripling the buffer between livestock, which can carry E. coli, and leafy greens operations from 400 to 1,200 feet.

But whatever has been done so far has not fixed the problem — and the experts are still searching for a theory of the case.
The timing of the E.coli outbreaks is striking: They have often occurred late in the growing season for a given region, when crops are being rotated. That has drawn attention of experts who are searching for some common environmental explanation for the recurring outbreaks.

Trevor Suslow, vice president of produce safety for the Produce Marketing Association, said the season for romaine lettuce ends in the fall in the Salinas Valley. That’s just weeks after neighboring fields are often prepped with manure or composting materials for spring crops.
The possibility of E.coli drifting to the lettuce fields — through water or wind or other means — is an “absolute current focus right now to determine why these seasonal outbreaks have been happening.”

Suslow said the weather can exacerbate problems with the contamination. “This is all happening at a time when water temperatures and humidity is high,” he said. “Those things are shown to favor survival and persistence of bacteria.”

There are other seasonal factors that could be contributing to the problem. Michele Jay-Russell, a microbiologist and manager of the Western Center for Food Safety at the University of California at Davis, said cattle, deer, goats and feral pigs carry E. coli O157:H7.

“It’s just a natural bacteria for them; they pass it through their feces,” she said. “In cattle we tend to see a particular seasonality to it. In the fall some can become super shedders. We aren’t sure why there are these seasonal spikes.”

a-1575631167 Dec 06, 2019 03:19 AM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

SPECIFIC TO SANTA BARBARA, the 2018 outbreak: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"An outbreak in the spring of 2018, which sickened 210 people and killed five, may have involved contaminated irrigation water from a canal that ran adjacent to a sprawling feedlot for cattle near Yuma, although investigators never definitively proved the chain of contamination. A 2017 outbreak that killed one person and sickened 25 in the United States and Canada has been loosely linked to California and Arizona growing areas.

After the November 2018 outbreak, the FDA traced the contamination to three counties in California. The investigation found the outbreak strain of E. coli in sediments in an open reservoir on one farm in Santa Barbara County, but the FDA said there was “insufficient evidence to conclude that this farm was the sole source of the outbreak.”

The farm did have a system in place for testing water for E. coli and sanitizing it before use, but the FDA investigation showed it was not foolproof.
“Inspection of water tank sanitizer treatment systems used in harvest/postharvest handling revealed that some units had undissolved sanitizer cakes and that some tank systems were constructed in a manner that likely did not allow for optimal sanitizer treatment of the agricultural water before use,” the FDA reported. “Additionally, untreated water from the contaminated reservoir was used to fill tank trucks which broadly sprayed water on roads for dust abatement and these roads were traveled on by harvest equipment prior to commencing harvest operations.”

“E. coli can live in water sediments for years,” said Frederick M. Cohan, a microbial ecologist at Wesleyan University. “What you want to do is keep it from getting in there in the first place.”

ParvoPup Dec 06, 2019 07:45 PM
Another Recall of Romaine Lettuce

Salinas and the surrounding canals are on the Pacific Flyway - the route that migratory birds use to move south this time of year. Don't discount the real possibility that the irrigation canals were infested by the droppings of migratory birds - ducks in particular.

Not as polarizing as arguing about pooping field workers - but a substantial cause of infestation nonetheless.

Please Login or Register to comment on this.