Multiple E. Coli Outbreaks Are Being Tracked Nationwide
Several state governments are working side by side with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the origin of two new E. coli outbreaks.
As of this writing, the agency confirmed that there are a lot of unknowns. The only fact that it’s certain of is that Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 (STEC) caused the illnesses.
“We do not know what food is causing people to get sick or whether it involves an FDA-regulated food product,” stated Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for Food Policy and Response. “However, we have seen similar recurring, emerging, or persistent strains of E. coli in recent outbreaks.”
“E. coli O157:H7 can contaminate many foods, and we cannot assume that the current outbreaks are linked to historically associated foods like romaine and other leafy greens,” the agency revealed. “There is no information currently to indicate that people should avoid any specific food.”
According to reports, a strain that is genetically connected to a strain that caused the 2019 STEC outbreak linked to romaine grown in the California Central Coast Salinas growing region caused one of the E. coli outbreaks. The health officials have recorded 23 cases and no fatalities.
Meanwhile, the second outbreak is due to a stain that is genetically connected to a larger, diverse genetic cluster. This cluster includes the strain that led to the 2018 STEC outbreak linked to romaine and environmental isolates from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. In this outbreak, the health officials have recorded 21 cases and one fatality.
The Need for Transparency
“We are issuing this update early in our investigation as part of our continued commitment to transparency and early communication,” Yiannas stated “We are also working toward making a new resource available soon on our website to provide early updates on new and active investigations.
Since the origin of the two outbreaks remains unknown, consumers are advised to take precautions when consuming uncooked produce. Moreover, they are urged to carefully and thoroughly wash produce before serving.
Editor’s note on the Two E. Coli Outbreaks Being Tracked by the FDA:
This piece is to inform you about the new E. Coli Outbreaks Being Tracked by FDA.
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