Cow Poop Might Have Caused The Romaine Lettuce E. Coli Outbreak

This kind of’s one hypothesis food safety officials are considering.

Posted on August 8, 2018, at 2:49 p.m. ET

This kind of was the biggest E. coli outbreak from the US in more than a decade, causing 96 hospitalizations in addition to 5 deaths.

Canal water samples taken through the region in Yuma, Arizona, where the lettuce was grown, tested positive for the strain of E. coli involved from the outbreak. According to an update through the FDA This kind of week, the agency is usually continuing “to consider that will contaminated water coming into contact with produce, either through direct irrigation or various other means, is usually a viable explanation for the pattern of contamination. however various other hypotheses were discussed as well. FDA notes that will the canal is usually close to a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), a facility that has a large number of cattle on the premises.”

The Centers for Disease Control in addition to Prevention explains the E. coli–poop connection like This kind of:

Infections start when you swallow STEC [Shiga toxin-producing E. coli]—in various other words, when you get tiny (usually invisible) amounts of human or animal feces in your mouth. Unfortunately, This kind of happens more often than we would certainly like to think about. Exposures that will result in illness include consumption of contaminated food, consumption of unpasteurized (raw) milk, consumption of water that will has not been disinfected, contact with cattle, or contact with the feces of infected people. Some foods are considered to carry such a high risk of infection with E. coli O157 or another germ that will health officials recommend that will people avoid them completely. These foods include unpasteurized (raw) milk, unpasteurized apple cider, in addition to soft cheeses made through raw milk. Sometimes the contact is usually pretty obvious (working with cows at a dairy or changing diapers, for example), however sometimes This kind of is usually not (like eating an undercooked hamburger or a contaminated piece of lettuce). People have gotten infected by swallowing lake water while swimming, touching the environment in petting zoos in addition to various other animal exhibits, in addition to by eating food prepared by people who did not wash their hands well after using the toilet. Almost everyone has some risk of infection.

No final conclusions have been made yet about the source of This kind of year’s E.coli outbreak. “Our experts continue to work on examining potential links between the CAFO, adjacent water, in addition to geologic in addition to various other factors that will may explain the contamination in addition to its relationship to the outbreak,” according to the FDA statement. “The agency is usually examining all possibilities, including that will contamination may have occurred at any point along the growing, harvesting, packaging, in addition to distribution chain before reaching consumers.”

Food safety lawyer Bill Marler wrote in a blog post that will the FDA still has not been transparent about what farms grew the romaine, where in addition to who processed This kind of, in addition to who shipped This kind of. “This kind of’s genuinely nuts,” Marler said in an email to BuzzFeed News.

The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

California in addition to Arizona produce over 50 billion servings of leafy greens every year for US consumers, according to the California Department of Food in addition to Agriculture. An industry group called the Leafy Greens Food Safety Task Force, comprising growers, government officials, trade associations, researchers, in addition to consumer advocates, formed recently “to assess in addition to address issues associated with recent foodborne illness outbreaks attributed to consumption of leafy greens.”

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