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Romaine calm!

Via an e-newsletter from the City of Minneapolis:

Romaine calm! An update on the romaine lettuce investigation. 

What we know

No common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified as the source of the current outbreak.

The CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat, and retailers and restaurants not serve, or sell any romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California.

On Nov. 28, the FDA identified these California counties as the focus of the investigation:

  • Monterey
  • San Benito
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Cruz
  • Ventura

Romaine lettuce harvested from locations outside of the California regions being investigated do not appear to be related to the current outbreak.

If you do not know where your romaine lettuce was harvested, do not eat it.

States impacted

As of Monday Nov. 26, 43 people in 12 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7. At that time, Minnesota did not have any confirmed cases. Wisconsin was named as one of the 12 states.

* * * * * * * Steps You Can Take * * * * * * *

Know your source

Romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled with a harvest location and harvest date, or will be labeled as hydroponically or greenhouse grown. If your lettuce does not have this information, you should not buy it, eat it or use it.

If you have romaine lettuce harvested from any of the California counties listed above, throw it out. 
Always know where your supplier is getting their food.

When possible and in season, buying locally allows you to know your source better, and contributes to the local economy.

Wash it

With the current E. coli outbreak, washing the romaine lettuce will not make it safe to eat. The E. colibacteria can be in the plant cells themselves, and since it only takes a few cells of E. coli to make someone sick, you cannot wash away the risk.

However, washing produce should be part of your routine practice. Leafy greens are a raw product, grown in dirt, and handled by people many times before making its way into your kitchen. Always wash fresh produce prior to cooking or serving.

Refrigerating and date marking your produce can also help control bacteria growth to keep you and your customers safe from potentially harmful bacteria.

Organic Vs. Non-Organic

Organic produce can contain harmful bacteria. From a potentially hazardous food standpoint, there is no difference between organic and non-organic produce.

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