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Health Officials: Safe To Eat California Romaine Lettuce Again

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) -- An E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown on a Santa Barbara County farm has ended and it is now safe to consume the leafy vegetable raised on California farms, health officials announced Wednesday.

The announcement also lifted a ban on romaine lettuce in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Barbara counties.

From October to December, the E. coli outbreak sickened 62 people in 16 states. No one died, but 25 people were hospitalized. Illnesses were also reported in Canada.

Officials said Wednesday that no new illnesses have been reported for a month.

Federal health officials issued a nation-wide warning not consume romaine lettuce. Tons of harvested romaine lettuce was piled high in landfills in Monterey County and all along the Central Coast as the leafy vegetable disappeared from store shelves and restaurant menus.

On December 13, health officials tracked the outbreak to Adam Bros. Farming, Inc., in Santa Barbara County. They found the same bacteria strain in a reservoir supplying the farm with water.

At the time, a recall was imposed on red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce and cauliflower harvested on the farm. The FDA has been able to confirm that Adam Brothers has not shipped romaine since November 20th and is no longer available for sale.

While the bans have been lifted, romaine harvesting has now shifted away from the Central Coast to winter growing areas, primarily Arizona, Florida, Mexico and California's Imperial Valley.

If you have further questions about this outbreak, please call the CDC media line at (404) 639-3286 or email If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state's health department.


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