California may be the source of romaine lettuce blamed in an outbreak of E. coli infections that has made 32 people sick in 11 states and Canada, the head of the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have cautioned people not to eat romaine lettuce while they investigate the outbreak. It’s very similar to an outbreak of E. coli that killed one person and made at least 25 people ill last year, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said. That outbreak was traced to leafy green vegetables but not to romaine lettuce specifically.
“The strain that caused that outbreak is very similar to the one that’s causing this outbreak and the timing is exactly the same. So it’s likely associated with end-of-season harvests in California, where most of the romaine that is currently on the market is from,” Gottlieb told NBC News.
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“I think we are going to be in a position to isolate the region soon. There is some lettuce coming in from Mexico but most of what’s on the market is the result of end-of-the-season harvesting coming out of California right now.”