With regard to Romaine used in foodservice applications, the restaurant or other establishment is considered the end-user and must verify the product was sourced from approved areas but need not include signage, according to FDA.
Federal investigators have found no connection between the current outbreak and the one that started this past spring. Twenty-five of those experiencing symptoms were interviewed, and 22 reported having eaten Romaine lettuce in the days leading up to the onset of their illness. The involved areas include the Central Coast growing regions of central and northern California.
The FDA said there was no reason to believe that the romaine lettuce being grown in other large growing regions, including the California desert region of the Imperial Valley; the desert region of Arizona in and around Yuma; and Florida, would be contaminated.
The FDA says romaine lettuce from other locations should soon be labeled with harvest dates and regions so people will know whether or not it's safe to eat.
FDA is conducting a traceback investigation to determine the source of the romaine lettuce eaten by people who became sick.
Now, the Malaysian Ministry of Health has issued a statement yesterday (26th November), confirming that Malaysia does import Romaine lettuce from the USA and the ministry has been screening the imported lettuce using the "Stop, Test, and Release" protocol that was initiated on 23rd November.
The labeling agreement, which was formalized on Sunday after intensive talks between FDA officials and industry leaders, is supported by all the major produce industry groups, including the United Fresh Produce Association, Produce Marketing Association and Western Growers. The CDC estimates 265,000 cases a year of illness from Shiga toxins from E. coli spread by animals and people, but just 30 deaths.
Only romaine lettuce from certain parts of California is unsafe to eat, federal health officials announced Monday. Residents in impacted provinces are also advised to discard any romaine lettuce in their home, and to properly wash and sanitize any containers or bins that have come in contact with romaine lettuce.
The FDA said it has no information to suggest that these growing areas are tied to the current E. coli outbreak. "If the dish contains (uncooked) romaine lettuce, it should be sent back or thrown out", she says. Forty-three people in 12 USA states have also been sickened.
However, according to CDC, 32 illnesses have been reported from 11 states, including 13 people who have been hospitalized.
This particular outbreak is slowly turning out to be a scary one, as the CDC has reported that almost thirteen people have also been recently hospitalized, and not only that, one of these patients has also developed kidney failure, Thankfully, no deaths have been reported till this point of time because of the outbreak.