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Health Officials Say E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Romaine Lettuce Over

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The U.S. food and health regulators have taken out their warning against consuming romaine lettuce from the Salinas growing region in California as the related E. coli outbreak appears to be over.

The warning was issued in late November by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, Food and Drug Administration or FDA and other agencies after the romaine lettuce from Salinas Valley growing region was identified as the likely cause behind the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7.

According to the CDC, a total of 167 people from 27 states were infected till date with E. coli O157:H7 after consuming romaine lettuce. Of these, 85 were hospitalized, including 15 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. There were no reports of any deaths.

In its latest update about the outbreak, the CDC noted that the contaminated romaine harvested from Salinas is past its shelf life and no longer available for sale, and that its investigation is over. The agency added that it is no longer advising that people avoid romaine lettuce from Salinas.

Further, the FDA noted that the agency and CDC have been tracking two multi-state romaine lettuce outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections. As of now, federal health officials are declaring that both multi-state romaine lettuce outbreaks are over. The second romaine lettuce outbreak was linked to Fresh Express salad kits that sickened 10 people in five states.

There was also a third outbreak in Washington State that sickened 11 people. This outbreak has also been declared over.

Meanwhile, the FDA said its investigation is ongoing to find the source or sources of contamination.

Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response, said, "The investigation into how this contamination occurred is important, so romaine growers can implement measures that will prevent future contamination and illnesses."

According to CDC, the latest outbreak was caused by the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 that caused outbreaks linked to leafy greens in 2017 and to romaine lettuce in 2018.

The warning against romaine lettuce had led to Missa Bay recalling over 75 thousand pounds of salad products across 22 states.

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