The Food and Drug Administration has narrowed its warning not to eat romaine lettuce. The agency now says the only growing areas linked to a recent E. coli outbreak are in the Central Coast region of northern and central California and romaine lettuce grown elsewhere is probably safe, USA Today reports. The FDA says at the time of the outbreak, the vast majority of romaine lettuce sold in the US came from the region, but it is no longer being harvested there and suppliers are now receiving lettuce from winter growing areas including Arizona, Florida, Mexico, and desert areas of California. The agency says its investigation linked the outbreak to "end of season" romaine.
Lettuce grown hydroponically or in greenhouses is also considered safe, the FDA says. The outbreak has now sickened at least 43 people in 12 states and 22 people in Canada, the agency says. The FDA says the warning not to eat romaine lettuce has created a "clean break" in which most of the contaminated lettuce was taken off shelves. The agency says romaine lettuce now entering the market will either be labeled with a harvest date on location or marked as hydroponically or greenhouse grown, NBC News reports. "If you do not know where your romaine lettuce is from, do not eat it," says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottleib. (Read more lettuce stories.)