FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the outbreak has ended but work needs to be done to determine how and why this strain of E. coli got into the canals in Yuma, and how that led to contamination of lettuce from multiple farms.
Things have changed. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says all the tainted romaine should be gone from restaurants and grocery stores and is no longer a risk.
"To date, CDC analysis of samples taken from canal water in the region has identified the presence of E. coli. with the same genetic fingerprint as the outbreak strain", the FDA said.
On June 28, 2018 the FDA stated that an environmental assessment in the Yuma, Arizona growing region, where officials think the contaminated lettuce is from, found the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in Canada water. Many of those hospitalized developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, according to the CDC. It's the worst outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 since a 2006 outbreak linked to spinach. Fox 8reports that they also said they won't reveal the location of the canal that has been identified until they have finished composing a report on the matter. It was the largest single food poisoning outbreak in the country in more than a decade.
Despite the confusion surrounding the source of the bacteria, consumers can shop safely. These individuals ate whole-head romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region. The Yuma region - which includes farms across the Colorado River in southeastern California - grows the overwhelming majority of the lettuce and other leafy greens consumed in the United States in the winter months. Since more than 21 days have passed, all romaine lettuce on the shelves now should be safe. The latest reported illness started June 6.
The traceback investigation indicates that the illnesses associated with this outbreak can not be explained by a single grower, harvester, processor, or distributor. The vaccine was field-tested near the end of the major 2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, The New York Times reported. "One would hope that the FDA would at some point require trace-back laws". "Smaller producers may not do that".