Digging into Romaine Lettuce Again?

From salads to wraps and so much more – romaine lettuce is a delicious and versatile leafy green many people enjoy. In 2018 there was a severe e. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce that left people wondering if it was safe to eat. While the FDA performed their investigation, people were told to avoid all romaine for fear of contamination. 43 people in 12 different states were affected by the outbreak, along with 22 people in Canada. After months of investigation and research, the FDA has finally narrowed down the problem!

Is Romaine Safe?

After being told to avoid romaine for so long, purchasing it for the first time may be nerve-wracking. The good news is that yes, romaine is safe, but not all of it. The FDA was able to link the outbreak back to the Central Coastal region in California, which means romaine from all other areas is perfectly safe to purchase and eat. But how do you know where your romaine is coming from? After the latest outbreak, the FDA decided to implement a new labeling system. All romaine is now labeled to detail what region it comes from and what date it was harvested. If the romaine is not packaged, your grocery store should have information posted. As this change takes place, be on the lookout for lingering romaine without a label. Unlabeled romaine should be considered unsafe, and you should not purchase it. Eventually, this labeling system is going to be put in place for all leafy greens being sold in stores.

Why Do Outbreaks Keep Occurring?

This isn’t the first illness linked to leafy green, in fact, they’re a very common carrier of disease and illness. Farmers are working with the FDA to determine safer methods to lower the potential for illness. Romaine and other leafy greens are grown in a greenhouse are typically the most reliable option, although they tend to be more expensive for the consumer to purchase. There’s no denying the fact that there’s an environmental factor at play that continues to expose people to illness through leafy greens, but it’s yet to be identified. Remember to wash all of your fresh fruits and vegetables before consuming them, check expiration dates, and watch the news to hear the latest updates on food recalls and illness outbreaks. As the FDA perfects, this new labeling system outbreaks will become more accessible to identify and control, leaving fewer people ill.

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