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Nov 21, 2018

Romaine Lettuce Update From FDA

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Romaine lettuce from certain parts of California should still be avoided.

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released new guidance yesterday as an update on the recent ban on Romaine lettuce sales following the outbreak of E.coli O157:H7.

The FDA is now allowing sales of Romaine lettuce harvested on or after November 23rd from areas outside the central coast growing regions of Central and Northern California. Permitted areas include the Imperial Valley and other desert growing regions in California, as well as Yuma, Arizona and Mexico. Hydroponic and greenhouse-grown Romaine from any region may also be sold, served and consumed. Note: Any Romaine lettuce harvested prior to November 23rd must be discarded by the restaurant.

The new FDA guidance requires that packages of Romaine lettuce include information about the date of harvest and the growing region. Retailers must include signage to inform customers that the Romaine lettuce was sourced from areas outside of the recall zones.

However, restaurants and foodservice establishments are considered end-users and aren't required to display signage, but must still verify that Romaine lettuce being served was sourced from approved areas. Restaurant operators should be prepared to answer questions from concerned customers.

The following more detailed information is directly from the FDA statement:
If consumers, retailers, and food service facilities are unable to identify that romaine lettuce products are not affected – which means determining that the products were grown outside the California regions that appear to be implicated in the current outbreak investigation—we urge that these products not be purchased, or if purchased, be discarded or returned to the place of purchase.

Romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine also does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these sources.

Click here for the full FDA statement.
Click here for an article from USA Today.

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