The Food and Drug Administration says it has identified a common grower associated with outbreaks of E. coli in romaine lettuce from the Salinas growing region. But the FDA is not naming the grower yet.
On Thursday afternoon, the FDA announced that it, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, are conducting investigations at ranches used by the grower. The investigation involves testing soil, animal droppings, compost, water and other potential environmental sources at those ranches.
The Wisconsin Department of Health recently reported it had identified E. coli in an unopened bag of Fresh Express brand Leafy Green Romaine. The source of the romaine inside the bag was from Salinas, California. It was also determined that one of the growers of the romaine used by Fresh Express was linked to other E. coli outbreaks under investigation.
According to the CDC, there have been 138 cases of contaminated lettuce in 25 states. The latest report of someone becoming ill was on December 1st.
The FDA recommends that romaine lettuce harvested in the Salinas growing region should not be eaten. If Salinas is listed as one of the locations on the bag, the lettuce should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase. This recommendation has been in place since just before Thanksgiving this year.