Last week, the FDA said the strain of E. coli O157:H7 causing the current outbreak is genetically link to the strain the caused an outbreak last fall in the US and Canada Twenty-five people got sick - including one death and two incidents of hemolytic uremic syndrome - in 15 states.
The multi-state outbreak of E. coli infections has been traced to the Central Coast regions of California, according to a statement from Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. The contamination happened "well before" the winter romaine lettuce farming started, according to the FDA, which says it is unaware of any contamination that may be present at the new growing locations.
So far, 32 people from 11 states across the US have reportedly fallen sick after consuming Romaine lettuce.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said it is continuing its own investigation in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada (HC) into the current outbreak of E. coli O157.
Agency officials say consumers should check revamped labels that will now say where and when their romaine was grown. The FDA also noted hydroponically grown romaine and romaine grown in greenhouses aren't implicated in the outbreak.
Now the FDA has linked the tainted lettuce to the "end of season" harvest in California's Central Coast Region.
The labeling arrangement was worked out as the produce industry called on the FDA to quickly narrow the scope of its warning so it wouldn't have to waste freshly harvested romaine. The FDA says it has been talking with industry officials on product labeling that will include source of origin and date to help deal with any potential future recalls.
The leafy greens industry agreed to establish a task force for solutions for long-term labeling of romaine lettuce and other leafy greens.
The outbreak has sickened 43 people in 12 states, plus 22 people in Canada, according to the FDA. Romaine from these sources is safe to eat, the FDA said.
That's up from 32 people sickened, including 13 hospitalized, in 11 states last week, and there could be more cases coming.
This is because of an outbreak of E. Coli (a pathogenic bacteria) that contaminated a large batch of this lettuce. But officials in Canada identified romaine as a common source of illnesses there. US investigators never specified which salad green might be to blame for those illnesses, which happened around the same time of year as the current outbreak.
The updated information follows an unusually broad warning that federal health officials issued two days before Thanksgiving, telling consumers to throw away any romaine lettuce they may already have purchased.