Lettuce Eat Salad: Romaine Is Finally Safe to Consume

The outbreak that sickened 172 and killed one has ended.

By Ethan L. Johns
May 18, 2018

Image: Zakharova_Natalia/Getty Images

Hear ye, hear ye, salad lovers! The moratorium on romaine has been removed!

The monthlong E. coli outbreak is over, according to government health agencies. Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that any romaine available for purchase in the United States is, once again, safe to consume. The outbreak spread to 32 states, sickening 172 people and killing one.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the CDC explained that any lettuce from the last harvest (April 16th) in the Yuma growing region—where the outbreak is suspected to have originated—has passed its expiration date and should have been removed from shelves.

“The romaine lettuce being sold and served today is NOT the romaine linked to illnesses,” the agency wrote.

The FDA reassured the public on Thursday, noting that shoppers “can be confident that romaine currently available for purchase is not part of the investigation.” The agency continues to investigate the outbreak.

It has been a hard year for romaine. An outbreak in the U.S. and Canada started in November of 2017 and lasted until January, sickening 25 people across 15 states. The current outbreak was recognized in April, and the origins remained a mystery until eight inmates at a correctional facility in Alaska became sick after eating romaine from Arizona.

With summer barbecue season fast approaching, the go-ahead from federal agencies to eat romaine likely has many people breathing a sigh of relief. After all, it is America’s favorite lettuce.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns