But how was this salad contaminated in the first place? The answer could be in the water.
Ninety-six of these people were sick enough to be hospitalized; Twenty-seven of them developed a hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. Five people from four states died. It is the worst outbreak of E. coli 0157: H7 associated with spinach since an outbreak in 2006.
Using a special DNA fingerprinting method known as whole genome sequencing, the CDC was able to determine that the E. coli bacteria taken from diseased individuals were genetically closely related, so that a single source of infection was the most likely cause ,
It's not just salad that Yuma delivers. Yuma grows $ 2.5 billion a year in over 1
According to the FDA, the last deliveries of lettuce for the season in April and its shelf life has expired since then, so the contaminated salad is no longer available.
During the investigation, the FDA noted that the outbreak is not due to a single breeder, harvester, processor or trader. It was across multiple supply chains. This led to the assumption that the outbreak could originate from a common source of water.
The E. coli O157: H7 found in the canal water is genetically closely related to the E. coli O157: H7 of diseased humans, "said the CDC in a recent update on the outbreak.
Interestingly, not all people who got sick had actually eaten romaine lettuce, and some had close contact with people who had eaten the infected greens Recalls that fruit and vegetables must always use safe handling methods.
"Important steps are thorough cooking of meat and hand washing after using the toilet or changing diapers before and after preparation or eating after contact with animals" advises the CDC.