Federal health authorities have declared the end of three E. coli The sprouts date back to Romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas Valley of California.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the USA. UU. They raised their notice to consumers across the country on Wednesday, saying that no new diseases have been traced to outbreaks related to Fresh Express romaine lettuce harvested from the Salinas Valley. Together, the outbreaks made 188 people from 27 states sick, sending 85 to hospitals. Kidney failure, a serious complication, was reported among 15 of those hospitalized, the agency said. There were no deaths, the CDC said.
The California Green Leaves Marketing Agreement, a quasi-governmental group that oversees the $ 2.4 billion lettuce industry in California, said Wednesday it will conduct a “transparent review” of its members’ compliance with food safety standards and It will gather research to identify new measures to prevent outbreaks that have frightened consumers.
The coalition, formed after a mortal E. coli The outbreak in 2006 already requires members to analyze water sources monthly and prohibits surface water irrigation during the critical final stages of the crop, said Scott Horsfall, the group’s executive director.
“The benefit of the LGMA system is that when we make changes to our requirements, they are implemented in thousands of farms that produce more than 90% of the green leaves grown in the United States,” said Horsfall. “Government auditors will verify that producers follow new practices through mandatory government audits. No other food security program in the world has this capability. ”
California’s production rules go well beyond federal food safety regulations, several of which have been postponed by the Trump administration until at least 2022, including a provision to analyze irrigation water.
The US Food and Drug Administration. UU. He said Wednesday that he has reduced his research of recent E. coli outbreak in multiple fields in the south of the Salinas Valley, although samples taken from water and soil on these farms showed no trace of those involved E. coli They are.
However, sampling identified a potential clue as to how bacteria commonly found in cattle may have gotten into lettuce: a soil sample near a runoff point between a lettuce field and a cattle grazing area gave positive for a different result. E. coli tension, the FDA said.
“This could be an important clue that will be examined further as our investigation continues,” the FDA said Wednesday. “However, this clue does not explain the diseases observed in these outbreaks.”
The lettuce crop in the Salinas Valley was already over when the largest outbreak was identified just before Thanksgiving: the industry is now harvesting in winter growing areas in the desert region of Imperial County and Yuma, Arizona.
Horsfall said the stricter labeling requirements that include the lettuce harvest area helped limit the effect of fear on growers in areas outside the Salinas Valley, including the southern deserts and the Santa Maria Valley, riding between the counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Bárbara.
The industry has formed committees to identify measures that could further address the risks of water, land and land use and other factors, Horsfall said.
In 2018, a deadly outbreak in the Yuma-Imperial area that made 250 people sick was attributed to the contamination of a large batch of cattle feed.