Romaine lettuce back on commissary shelves
Following the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions and Food and Drug Administration, the Defense Commissary Agency has begun restocking romaine lettuce in its stores.
The CDC and FDA believe they’ve traced the E. coli outbreak to particular fields in California
“Customers can feel comfortable in knowing that any product on the shelves is not from these fields. Stores will be placing signs near the product to let customers know where the lettuce was grown.” said Army Col. Alisa Wilma, DeCA’s director of health and safety.
Commissaries removed all romaine products from sale last week acting upon the recommendation of the CDC and FDA. In cooperation with the fresh produce industry, the FDC and CDC romaine lettuce sales have resumed.
Growers and shippers of romaine products have agreed to begin labeling product with harvest location and date or labeling items as being hydroponically- or greenhouse-grown. The CDC and FDA recommends if the product does not have this information, you should not eat or use it. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away
If romaine lettuce does have this labeling information, the CDC and FDA advise avoiding any product from the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California. No common grower, supplier, distributor or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified.
According to the CDC and FDA, there is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine lettuce that is certain to have been harvested from areas outside of the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California. For example, romaine lettuce harvested from areas that include, but are not limited to the desert growing region near Yuma, Arizona, the California desert growing region near Imperial County and Riverside County, the state of Florida, and Mexico, does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. Additionally, there is no evidence hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine is related to the current outbreak.
The investigation by the FDA indicates that ill people in several areas across the country were exposed to romaine lettuce harvested in California. Their findings indicate romaine from the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California may be the cause of the outbreak.
So far, 43 people in 12 states have been sickened by this outbreak. The CDC and FDA advise that customers wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.
Infection with E. coli can result in dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps two to eight days (three to four days, on average) after exposure to the organism. While most people recover within a week, some can develop Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a serious disease that affects the kidneys and blood clotting system.
They also recommend the following steps if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection:
- Talk to your healthcare provider.
- Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
- Report your illness to the health department.
- Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.