A Farm is under investigation: 

The FDA continues to actively investigate the cause of this outbreak. An investigation team consisting of staff from FDA, CDC, the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are attempting to identify any factors that could have led to contamination at a common farm identified by traceback. This investigation involves assessing and sampling soil, animal droppings, compost, water, and other potential environmental sources at the ranches of this grower. The samples and information collected during the farm investigations will be analyzed.

Positive Products and Recalls:

  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently reported that they identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in an unopened bag of Fresh Express brand Leafy Green Romaine collected from an ill person’s home. The source of the romaine identified in the bag was Salinas, California. It was determined that one of the growers of this product also supplied romaine linked to other E. coli outbreaks that FDA is investigating.
  • On Nov. 21, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a recall by Missa Bay, LLC, a Swedesboro, N.J. establishment, of approximately 75,233 pounds of salad products that contain meat or poultry because the lettuce ingredient may be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. Products in this recall were produced with the same lot of lettuce that was used to produce the packaged salad that the Maryland Department of Health found to contain E. coli 0157:H7.
  • The Maryland Department of Health identified E. coli O157:H7 in an unopened package of Ready Pac Bistro® Chicken Caesar Salad collected from an ill person’s home in Maryland. Analysis of this salad, through Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), has linked strain E. coli O157:H7 to three Maryland cases and the multi-state outbreak.

All current outbreaks linked:

These outbreaks are each caused by strains that are different from each other and different from the larger outbreak. One of the outbreaks is in Washington state, is potentially linked to romaine lettuce served at Evergreens restaurants (13 sick). Another outbreak, with cases in the U.S. and Canada, is linked to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits (26 sick in US and Canada).  And, the third outbreak:

Total Illnesses: 138

Hospitalizations: 72

Acute Kidney Failure: 13

First illness onset: September 20, 2019

Last illness onset: December 1, 2019

States with Cases:

AZ (3)

CA (4)

CO (6)

FL (2)

IA (1)

ID (3)

IL (10)

MD (5)

MI (1)

MN (5)

MT (1)

NE (2)

NJ (9)

NC (2)

NM (2)

OH (12)

OR (1)

PA (17)

SC (1)

SD (1)

TN (1)

TX (6)

VA (6)

WA (4)

WI (33)

And, let’s not forget this outbreak that was announced October 30, 2019 – long after it ended:

CDC notified the FDA of this illness cluster in mid-September 2019 and the agency promptly initiated a traceback investigation. The FDA, CDC, along with state and local partners, investigated the illnesses associated with the outbreak. A total of 23 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 12 states: Arizona (3), California (8), Florida (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (2), Maryland (1), North Carolina (1), Nevada (1), New York (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2) and South Carolina (1). Eleven people were hospitalized and no deaths were reported. Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 12, 2019 to Sept. 8, 2019. No illnesses were reported after CDC began investigating the outbreak on Sept. 17, 2019.

Investigators were sent to visit farms located in California’s central coast region which were identified through the traceback investigation. They collected and tested many environmental samples, and the outbreak strain was not identified. While romaine lettuce is the likely cause of the outbreak, the investigation did not identify a common source or point where contamination occurred.