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Don't Eat Romaine Grown in Salinas: Agencies

FDA investigates E. coli outbreak
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2019 4:40 PM CST
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Romaine lettuce in Simi Valley, California, last year.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

(Newser) – US health officials on Friday told people to avoid romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California, because of another food poisoning outbreak. The warning comes almost exactly one year after a similar outbreak led to a blanket warning about tainted romaine. The agencies urged people not to eat the leafy green if the label doesn't say where it was grown, the AP reports. They also urged supermarkets and restaurants not to serve or sell the lettuce, unless they're sure it's grown elsewhere. Officials say the warning applies to all types of romaine from the Salinas region, include whole heads, hearts of romaine and pre-cut salad mixes that have romaine.

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 40 people in more than a dozen states. The agency said that its inquiry led investigators to farms in Salinas and that they were looking for the contamination source. Romaine has been tied to repeated food poisoning outbreaks, including the one right before Thanksgiving last year. It’s not clear exactly why romaine keeps sickening people, but food safety experts note the difficulty of eliminating risk for produce grown in open fields and eaten raw. "It's very, very disturbing," said Trevor Suslow of the Produce Marketing Association. The recalled salad products are marked with "Use By" dates from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1, per the Los Angeles Times. The government lists 35 recalled products here.

(Read more lettuce recall stories.)

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