The Food and Drug Administration says farmers and processors have agreed to begin labeling lettuce to help the consumers steer clear of leafy greens from states or regions where the produce has been contaminated.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb floated the idea for labeling last week after the agency announced it concluded that the latest E. coli outbreak from contaminated romaine lettuce started in California. Farmers from other states have been pleading with the agency to recognize publicly that their lettuce is safe to eat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told consumers and restaurants last week to throw away all of their romaine lettuce regardless of where it came from because the source of the latest E. coli outbreak could not be pinpointed.
That has changed and now the FDA said the contaminated lettuce that has sickened 43 people in 12 states was grown in “the Central Coast growing regions of central and northern California.”
“The labeling will identify the origin of the romaine based on harvest region, along with the date of harvest,” the FDA said in a statement Monday. “This can improve the ability of the FDA to provide more targeted information to consumers in the event of a future outbreak of illness. The FDA also has commitments from the romaine lettuce industry that such labeling will continue into the future and become the standard for their products.”
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