A week after issuing its strongest warning yet about a widespread E.coli outbreak linked to Romaine lettuce, the Centers for Disease Control is now saying many brands are now safe to it, and that it has pinpointed the location of the contamination.
The bottom line: It's safe to eat Romaine lettuce again unless the brands were produced in certain parts of California.
On Tuesday, Nov. 20, the CDC had said in a Food Safety Alert that all types, varieties and brands of Romaine lettuce were unsafe to eat in any form and retail establishments and restaurants should not sell it until more is known.
Now, in a new alert issued late Monday night, Nov. 26, the CDC is saying, "Based on new information, CDC is narrowing its warning to consumers. CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. If you do not know where the romaine is from, do not eat it."
The CDC says consumers "should check bags or boxes of romaine lettuce for a label indicating where the lettuce was harvested. Romaine lettuce labeled with a harvest region outside of the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California (such as the desert growing region near Yuma, the California desert growing region near Imperial County and Riverside County, the state of Florida, and Mexico) is not linked to this outbreak."
Restaurants and retailers should check the label on bags or boxes of romaine lettuce, or ask their suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce, says the CDC, adding, "Do not sell or serve any romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California."
"If you do not know where your romaine lettuce was harvested, do not eat it and throw it away," the CDC stated.
A total of 42 people from 12 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E.coli since Oct. 8, with 13 being hospitalized, the CDC said. No deaths have been reported.
An additional 11 illnesses have come since last week's Food Safety Alert.
Health officials first warned about Romaine lettuce in April after 50 people became ill from E.coli.
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