The romaine-linked E. coli outbreak is officially over, federal officials say

It’s now safe to eat romaine, according to federal officials. Associated Press

A romaine-linked E. coli outbreak that sickened more than 167 people is officially over, federal officials said Thursday.

That means it’s now safe to consume the lettuce, according to the Centres for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration.

The agencies issued an advisory in November warning people against consuming romaine grown in Salinas, California, as officials investigated outbreaks involving three separate strains of E. coli.

One of the outbreaks sickened more than 167 people in 27 states. About 85 people were hospitalized and more than a dozen people developed kidney failure.

“The FDA is lifting the consumer advisory to avoid romaine lettuce from Salinas as the growing season for this region is over, and there is no longer a need for consumers to avoid it,” the FDA said in a statement. “There is also no need to avoid other produce products from Salinas.”

Even though the outbreak is over, health officials are still investigating the source.

Officials have so far traced the source to a single grower with multiple fields in the lower Salinas Valley.

“Our investigation is ongoing, and we are doing everything possible to find the source or sources of contamination,” health officials said. “The investigation into how this contamination occurred is important, so romaine growers can implement measures that will prevent future contamination and illnesses.”