Over the past several weeks, the recent E. coli outbreak related to chopped, bagged romaine lettuce spread to 32 states, made 172 people sick, and resulted in at least one death. At one point, the CDC just advised throwing your bagged salad mixes away. But now The New York Times reports that “Federal health officials have concluded that the tainted lettuce… is no longer available for sale.”
The CDC has updated the information page on its website, and has decreed that romaine is once again safe to eat: “According to the U.S. Food And Drug Administration, the last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16, 2018 and the harvest season is over. It is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is still available in stores or restaurants due to its 21-day shelf life.”
Even though the crisis is now over, the Times says “Federal investigators are still looking for the precise source of the virulent strain.” According to Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the F.D.A.’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, “There are a lot of ways this could have happened.”
As the investigation continues, consumers can now peruse the romaine area of their local produce section without fear. It’s good news for salad fans, Caesar and otherwise.