FDA, CDC Investigating Recent E. Coli Outbreak

FDA, CDC Investigating Recent E. Coli Outbreak

The FDA and CDC, in collaboration with state and local partners, are investigating illnesses in a third multistate outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 infections this autumn.

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November 17, 2020

The FDA and CDC, in collaboration with state and local partners, is investigating illnesses in a third multistate outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 infections this Fall.

On November 6, 2020, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) reported that as a part of routine sampling, they collected a product sample of romaine lettuce for testing. The sample tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 and subsequent whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis determined that the E. coli O157:H7 present in the samples matches the strain that has caused illnesses in this outbreak.

The strain of E. coli found in the Michigan sample is a third distinct strain not genetically related to the strains causing two distinct multi-state outbreaks of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7 (STEC) that FDA and CDC announced on October 28, 2020. At this time, a specific food has not been linked to either of those outbreaks.

On November 6, 2020, Tanimura & Antle, Inc. recalled packaged single head romaine lettuce with a pack date of 10/15/2020 or 10/16/2020 due to possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7. The firm recalled this product based on test results from a product sample collected and analyzed by MDARD before the WGS analysis showing the match to the outbreak strain was completed.

FDA and state partners are working with the firm to determine if additional romaine should be recalled.

At this time, there is not enough epidemiologic and traceback evidence to determine if ill people in this outbreak were exposed to romaine lettuce from Tanimura & Antle, Inc. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available