Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about thee. Coli outbreak in romaine lettuce. For weeks it has been unsafe to purchase, eat, or order any romaine lettuce while the FDA worked to narrow down the problem. Through proper inspections and research, they have finally located the problem area, and some romaine lettuce is safe to enjoy!
What is Romaine Safe?
After this major outbreak, the FDA had decided that all romaine will now be labeled to detail what region it comes from and when it was harvested. They determined that the outbreak has been linked to the Central Coast region of California. That means that any romaine on the store shelves that isn’t from the Central Coast region is safe to enjoy! If romaine is not packaged, your grocery store should have the information regarding the region and harvest date posted near the register. If romaine is not labeled and the information is not posted, don’t purchase or consume it.
Preventing Outbreaks Moving Forward
The FDA came up with the new labeling system to avoid growers in safe regions from being forced to throw out perfectly safe produce. Primarily, the winter growing found areas in Arizona, Florida, and Mexico are safe for sale and consumption. Leafy greens are often linked to outbreaks and food poisoning, but the new e. Coli outbreak finally got the attention of the FDA in a significant way. Moving forward, the aim is to implement this labeling process into all leafy greens sold in stores. Then, if an outbreak occurs, it can be quickly narrowed down and controlled. 43 people in 12 states were affected by the recent romaine outbreak and an additional 22 people in Canada. Canada is familiar with the possibilities of illness from leafy greens, stating it as a common occurrence there as well.
FDA officials and farmers are working together to determine why romaine has been involved in so many outbreak incidents in recent years. They’re taking into account environmental factors, physical factors of the plant, and more. Romaine has a shelf life of approximately 21 days which means the infected greens could still be on store shelves or in your home. Even if you have romaine that you have eaten part of without problems, it’s best to dispose of it and repurchase romaine that is clearly labeled to be from a safe region.