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Good News: You Can Start Eating (Some) Romaine Lettuce Again

Health officials say only lettuce from California is unsafe.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Monday that only romaine lettuce from certain regions of California is unsafe to eat, following the massive warning issued last week. According to federal health officials, the latest E. coli outbreak has been traced back to the Central Coast area of the state after further investigation.

“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,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb explained in a press statement. “There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these sources.”

All romaine products that are returning to supermarket shelves will be labeled with where the lettuce was grown and when it was harvested. The FDA urges consumers to read labels carefully and not to purchase or eat any lettuce that isn’t labeled. Gottlieb also explained that the agency is confident last week’s withdrawal request was successful in removing the affected products, saying “it was critically important to have a “clean break” in the romaine supply available to consumers in the U.S. in order to purge the market of potentially contaminated romaine lettuce.”

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While no deaths have been reported, the current outbreak has infected 43 people in 12 different states and 22 people in Canada so far, with the last diagnosis occurring on October 31. The FDA, along with the Canadian Public Health Agency, is continuing to investigate the source of the contamination, caused by the O157:H7 strain.