Last week the FDA issued a report on its investigation of what was actually three distinct outbreaks occurring in the fall of 2019. In the report, the e. coli strain linked to one of these outbreaks along with other STEC strains were detected in samples taken from cattle grazing land in proximity to where romaine lettuce crops were grown.
The FDA has stated it believes ruminants, most likely cattle, are the source of contamination in these outbreaks, but exactly how the pathogens end up on leafy greens remains a mystery.
“As leafy greens farmers we are committed to doing everything possible to make sure our products are safe,” said Dan Sutton, a leafy greens farmer and chairman of the LGMA. “If we knew what additional precautions could keep pathogens out of our fields, we would immediately make changes to our food safety program.”