Scott Gottlieb, M.D., FDA Commissioner Statement on Developments in the Romaine Outbreak Investigation

Dr. Gottlieb, the commissioner of FDA revealed a few new pieces of information about the the romaine lettuce outbreak in Yuma AZ. Several environmental samples of canal water near the lettuce farms have been contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 that genetically match the strain of bacteria that caused the outbreak. During the investigation, additional strains of shiga-toxin producing E. coli, different than the outbreak strain, were identified. The investigators need to understand how and why this strain of E. coli O157:H7 got into this body of water and how that led to contamination of romaine lettuce from multiple farms. @
Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on developments in the romaine outbreak investigation, recent outbreaks and the use of modern tools to advance food safety

Being able to identify outbreaks is key to being able to take quick action to prevent additional illnesses and find the source of the contamination. In recent years, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have advanced new tools that make it easier and faster to identify outbreaks of human illness and to link them back to the food source that is the culprit responsible for the illnesses. But our improved ability to spot outbreaks has also caused some to question whether we are experiencing more foodborne outbreaks now than in the past.

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