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The last E. coli outbreak is over; Consumer Reports says it's safe to eat Romaine salad



Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

One of the nation's deadliest E. coli outbreaks is over, the government said Thursday. and Consumer Reports says it's now safe to eat Romaine salad again.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says consumers should not find contaminated Romain in stores or restaurants at this time.

"Based on all available We believe there is no longer any risk of Romaine salad being consumed at this time," says James E. Rogers, Ph.D., Consumer Reports Director of Food Safety.

The outbreak, the second one associated with Romain since the end of last year, surfaced in April and has killed five people and 21

0 in 36 states. It originated in the Yuma, Arizona, region, where most of the country's winter and early spring flavor is grown. The production then moved to California.

Officials also revealed that they had found E. coli in the water in a canal near Roman fields in Yuma, a key to determining the cause of the contamination.

Scott Gottlieb, administrator of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said in a statement that "Environmental samples of sewer water in the area contain E. coli O157: H7 that genetically corresponds to the bacterial strain causing the outbreak Has." [19659004] Prior to Thursday, most officials had said about the source of the contamination to call a Yuma breeder named Harrison Farms, where Romainia arose, which made eight prison inmates sick in Alaska.

FDA, CDC and Arizona health authorities say this will continue to analyze the soil, manure and contaminated water samples taken from them.

"This is just a clue to help us determine how this outbreak happened," says FDA spokesman Peter Cassell to CR. "We still do not know how the E. coli got into the water or how this water got into the fields." Seattle-based attorney Bill Marler, who specializes in cases of food poisoning, says it's obvious channels carried irrigation water to the Roman fields. In the dry growing region Yuma channels are often used for this purpose.

The difficult next step for health officials is to determine how the water has been contaminated, says Marler. E. coli is spread by animal and occasionally human waste. One possible source of the outbreak of E. coli from spoiled spinach in 2006 was wild boar defecation near California spinach fields.

"It is likely that the canals were contaminated by some sort of livestock upstream," says Marler.

Cassell says the FDA will continue to keep the public informed of their findings in the coming weeks.

It is important that federal investigators continue to search for the source of this deadly outbreak, says Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports. "And the FDA needs to take action to ensure that contaminated water does not get into our products," she says. "Consumers need to know that the food they buy is safe."

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