Is it really safe to eat romaine lettuce? The CDC says an E. coli outbreak “appears to be over,” but health officials still do not know why lettuce has caused hundreds of food poisoning illnesses since 2017.
As of January 15, CDC is “no longer advising that people avoid romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley growing region in California.”
The E. coli contaminated romaine from the Salinas region that made people sick is past its shelf-life and likely no longer available.
A total of 167 people from 27 states were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7, including 85 people who were hospitalized and 15 people who developed a type of kidney failure.
There were two other simultaneous outbreaks of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce and leafy greens since November 2019. One outbreak in Washington state sickened 15 people. Another outbreak in the U.S. and Canada was linked to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped salad kits, with 10 people sickened.
Outbreaks of E. coli from lettuce and other leafy greens are a recurring problem. Since 2017, over 300 people have been infected with E. coli after eating lettuce, including 6 people who died.
Source: Outbreak Investigation of E. coli: Romaine from Salinas, California (November 2019)