Were you aware of an E. Coli outbreak linked to romaine this summer? No? Neither did we…

On October 31, 2019, the FDA disclosed to the public that there was a recent outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 which could be traced back to contaminated romaine lettuce. This outbreak took place from July 12, 2019 to September 8, 2019 and infected 23 people across 12 states. What’s interesting about this is that the FDA waited approximately 6 weeks to inform the public. Now, we all remember what took place last year when a similar outbreak went across 36 states. This resulted in 210 total reported illnesses, 96 hospitalizations, and 5 deaths. According to the FDA, the reason why they didn’t immediately inform the public of this latest outbreak was because “when romaine lettuce was identified as the likely source of the outbreak, the available data at the time indicated that the outbreak was not ongoing and romaine lettuce eaten by sick people was past its shelf life and no longer available for sale.” This is all well in good in theory, but my question to the FDA and CDC is shouldn’t we as the consumer be given the information when known and then have the ability to choose whether to buy the product even if these organizations feel there is little to no risk?

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