The FDA released new information Monday on the romaine lettuce E. Coli outbreak across the country. Forty-three people have been sickened in 12 states and 22 cases have been reported in Canada.
The report shows the outbreak comes from areas of California that grow romaine lettuce over the summer months including the central coast growing regions of Central and Northern California. Now, harvest season is shifting to the winter growing regions including the Coachella Valley.
“Coachella Valley crop is new, it’s fresh, it’s safe,” Ellen Way, the co-president of Coachella Valley’s Women for Agriculture chapter, said.
“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,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. said.
“If you eat a salad anywhere in the United States during the winter months of December to the first of March, that salad is coming from the Coachella Valley, the Imperial Valley, or the Yuma valley,” Way said.
Yuma, Arizona is the largest of the three harvesters. The lettuce harvest season recently started for all of them.
The FDA reports romaine lettuce entering the market will be “labeled with a harvest location and harvest date.” If it does not have this information, they recommend people not eat it or use it. Also, check the label for whether the lettuce is hydroponically or greenhouse grown.
Local growers will resume their harvest on Wednesday, Way said.