This year has been challenging for everyone – and that includes those of us in the lettuce farming community. Faced …Read Article
Romaine Lettuce Recall
Review of past e.coli outbreaks and recalls associated with romaine lettuce
Romaine lettuce has been associated with a series of outbreaks and recalls in recent years. The most recent romaine lettuce outbreak occurred in November of 2019 and was declared over by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on January 15, 2020.
No additional romaine outbreaks or romaine recalls have been reported since then and romaine lettuce is considered safe to buy and consume from restaurants and stores.
What Romaine Lettuce Was Recalled?
An advisory was issued by the U.S. FDA on November 22, 2019 warning consumers not to eat romaine lettuce from four counties located on the central coast of California Salinas. Romaine from all other lettuce growing regions was not involved in the recall or outbreak.
During this outbreak, consumers were told to look for Harvest Location Labels on packages of romaine lettuce with the words: Yuma, Phoenix, Southern Arizona, Northern Arizona, Northern California, Santa Maria, Southern California, Imperial Valley, Coachella and Central Valley as these were all safe to eat. Romaine from other states and Mexico was also said to be okay. And hydroponically and greenhouse grown romaine were fine to eat too.
WHAT CONSUMERS SHOULD KNOW
Romaine producers responded immediately by working closely with their customers to make sure all romaine from Salinas was removed from marketing channels and that only romaine from growing areas deemed safe for consumption was available for sale in stores and restaurants. Lettuce farmers, through the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, issued a series of media statements to provide consumers with updates throughout the outbreak, including information and images to clearly communicate with consumers about what romaine was safe to eat.
The LGMA worked closely with public health agencies and volunteered to assist with investigations in any way possible. The organization is also working with other initiatives to conduct research to learn more about how romaine became the source of this outbreaks. Please see additional information at Romaine Lettuce Update and Is Romaine Lettuce Safe Now?
Response from Retailers and Restaurants
Grocery stores, restaurants and lettuce producers reacted quickly as soon as they learned of this outbreak to remove romaine lettuce grown in Salinas from the supply chain channels to protect consumers. To ensure romaine continued to be available, they purchased romaine from growing areas other than Salinas.