Only romaine lettuce from certain parts of Calif. should be avoided, FDA says in new warning

Federal health officials said Monday that only romaine lettuce from certain parts of California is unsafe to eat and that romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled to give consumers information about when and where it was harvested.

If consumers, retailers and food service facilities cannot determine whether the romaine was grown outside California, they should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one got sick, according to a lengthy statement from Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

FDA officials said the most likely source of contamination is from the Central Coast growing regions in northern and central California. Romaine lettuce harvested outside those regions “does not appear to be related to the current outbreak,” the FDA said. Hydroponically grown and greenhouse-grown romaine also does not appear to be affected in the outbreak. Romaine from those sources is safe to eat, the FDA said.

No common grower, supplier, distributor or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified in the outbreak. Several major romaine lettuce producers have agreed to label products with a harvest date by region, and new romaine from other growing regions, including Florida and Arizona, is being restocked in grocery shelves.

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