The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state health authorities are investigating an outbreak of illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7 in the United States. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicates that romaine lettuce from the Salinas, Calif.-growing region is a likely source of this outbreak. The CDC is reporting an increase in the case count to 67 and that the most recent illness onset date is Nov. 14, 2019.
At this time, romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Salinas region has not been implicated in this outbreak investigation. Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine, which is voluntarily labeled as “indoor grown,” from any region does not appear to be related to the current outbreak.
Currently, the FDA does not have enough traceback information to identify the specific source of the contamination that would allow the agency to request a targeted recall from specific growers. At this stage in the investigation, the most efficient way to ensure that contaminated romaine is off the market would be for industry to voluntarily withdraw product grown in Salinas, and to withhold distribution of Salinas romaine for the remainder of the growing season in Salinas. The FDA has made this request of industry.
The FDA, along with the CDC and state and local partners, continue to investigate a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora infections potentially linked to Aldi, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco grocery store brand “garden salads” containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots.
According to the 2020 Organic Industry Survey released by the Organic Trade Association, U.S. organic food sales hit $50.1 billion, up 4.6% from the previous year.
In a study conducted by Northumbria University’s Healthy Living Lab, around half of UK children who received free school meal vouchers are reporting a significant drop in their intake of fruit and vegetables since schools closed in March.
The USDA has announced plans to expand its routine verification testing or six Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli that are adulterants, in addition to the adulterant Escherichia coli O157:H7, to ground beef, bench trim, and raw ground beef components other than raw beef manufacturing trimmings for samples collected at official establishments.
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