SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement received word today that government officials have narrowed their search for the cause of an ongoing multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 to chopped, bagged romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to those people who have been impacted by this outbreak,” said Scott Horsfall, CEO of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement.
Specifically, government officials are advising consumers not to consume packaged, chopped romaine from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. No such advisories are in place for unpackaged romaine; packaged romaine heads or hearts that are not chopped; or for any romaine products grown in California. Consumers may check with their restaurant and/or retailer to assist them in identifying origin of the product.
Public health officials do not believe California leafy greens are the cause of this outbreak. Nearly all of the romaine lettuce now being harvested and shipped throughout the U.S. is from California growing areas and is safe to consume.
“The leafy greens community understands that we aren’t just feeding our own families with the foods we produce, we are feeding the world. We take this responsibility very seriously,” said Horsfall. “The LGMA food safety programs that exist in both California and Arizona are the most rigorous in today’s produce industry. Both programs include mandatory food safety practices and frequent government audits are required to ensure practices are being followed.“
For updated information about the LGMA, please visit www.lgma.ca.gov.
About the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement
The California LGMA is a food safety program that verifies science-based farming practices using government audits and requires 100% compliance. The program was designed with a set of checks and balances to ensure leafy greens farmers do all they can to protect public health by establishing a culture of food safety on the farm.
California produces a vast amount of the leafy green products that Americans enjoy each year. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2012 California farmers contributed the following amounts of leafy green product to the U.S. supply including 77% of romaine lettuce, 71% of iceberg lettuce and 66% of spinach.