FDA narrows previous warning on romaine lettuce, says some is safe to eat

FDA narrows previous warning on romaine lettuce, says some is safe to eat
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday narrowed its warning against eating romaine, saying that it is safe to eat some of the lettuce depending on where it was harvested.

The FDA said that the romaine lettuce linked to an E. coli outbreak, which triggered last week's call to destroy any of the vegetable currently found in homes, stores and restaurants, appears to come from the Central Coast regions in central and northern California.

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It is now safe for people to consume romaine lettuce from other regions, such as California's Imperial Valley, Arizona, Florida and Mexico, the FDA said. 

To make clear which romaine is safe to eat, the FDA is also recommending that growers, processors, distributors and retailers label romaine packaging with its growing region and harvest date. For romaine that doesn't come in such packaging, retailers are being asked to have the labels by their checkout registers.

"We hope that growers, processors, distributors and retailers will join us in our effort to protect consumers by applying these labeling recommendations to their products," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. 

"We remain committed to identifying ways to decrease the incidence and impact of food borne illness outbreaks, and will continue to provide updates on our investigation and changes to our advice on romaine lettuce as more information becomes available," he added. 

The FDA, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last week warned people not to eat romaine lettuce because of the E. coli outbreak.

As of Monday, 43 people in 12 states have become ill because of the outbreak, the FDA said. Another 22 people in Canada have also been affected.