CDC and FDA both posted an updates to their Romaine/E. coli O157:H7 outbreak pages yesterday that shows another 36 ill folks with an onset date as late as December 1, and that one of the growers associated with an unopened bag of Fresh Express Romaine also supplied Romaine in other outbreaks that FDA is investigating.
FDA says: These outbreaks are each caused by strains that are different from each other and different from the larger outbreak. One of the additional outbreaks, in Washington state, is potentially linked to romaine lettuce. The other outbreak, with cases in the U.S. and Canada, is linked to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits.
I had a couple of conversations about these outbreaks today and someone asked about why Salinas Romaine has been linked to outbreaks around the same time frame in 2017, 2018 and this year.
Essentially asking whether I had any theories on why the risk seems to go up around the time that the season is nearing its end and supply is transitioning elsewhere. Is it because people are more lax about food safety around this time? Something else?
My answer: Not sure, but I think that’s exactly what everyone is trying to figure out.
Here’s our current list of foodborne illness outbreaks linked to leafy greens. We will continue to update as more info is known.