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 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is seeking feedback from interested parties on its scientific opinion about public health risks related to the presence of ochratoxin A (OTA) in food.
Hodgson Mill has announced a voluntary national recall of specific lots of its Unbleached All-Purpose White Wheat Flour (5 lb).
The FDA, along with the CDC, and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin potentially linked to fresh conventional (non-organic) blackberries from the grocery store, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.
The World Animal Protection, a global animal-welfare organization, has released a new report that finds that bacteria resistant to antibiotics considered highly important or critically important to human health were present in pork products purchased at Walmart stores in the United States.