Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety lawyer who has been involved in food-borne illness lawsuits for decades, said the investigators had not explained how, when and where the bacteria contaminated the romaine which is spread to so many people and places.
The announcement came on the same day as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one person died in California, and romaine lettuce may be to blame. The California Department of Public Health said in a statement it can not provide any more details because of patient privacy laws.
Health officials have tied the E. coli outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, which provides most of the romaine sold in the US during the winter.
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We continue to look for ways to improve our workplace and this period of reflection and action has been important to all of us. The investigation lasted over a five-month period, and many of those interviewed spoke anonymously.
One death has been reported in California; however, the CDC has not yet provided any additional information about the individual.
Health officials have tied the E. coli outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, which provides most of the romaine sold in the USA during the winter. Therefore, the lettuce you see on grocery store shelves now is likely not from Yuma, and new reports of cases are likely due to reporting lags. People get sick within two to eight days of swallowing the germ, which causes diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting. "The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads". "If you do not know whether lettuce is romaine, do not eat it", the agency warns. This includes hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS, which destroys red blood cells and damages the kidneys, leading to acute kidney failure. Of those, about half (52 people) required hospitalization. The halt in production is in response to the worsening E. coli outbreak linked to romaine - an attempt to reduce the potential for exposure to the contaminated vegetable.
They have managed to identify one farm linked to the lettuce - a distributor of whole heads of romaine that sickened people at a correctional facility in Alaska.