Some contaminated romaine lettuce traced to California farm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials on Thursday said they have traced one source of an e-coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce but that the investigation is ongoing.

Investigators found the e-coli strain in a contaminated agricultural water reservoir on a farm in Santa Barbara county. Officials with the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said the farm is owned and operated by Adam Bros. Farms in Santa Barbara County.

The farm has been cooperating with the investigation and has stopped shipping lettuce.

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However, the officials said not all illnesses could be traced to this farm, so the contamination is likely also coming from somewhere else.

Fifty-nine people have been infected across 15 states, the CDC and FDA said.  

“What we are seeing is there are multiple distributors and multiple processors and multiple farms that show up in the various legs of that traceback and they don’t all lead back specifically to this farm,” said Stephen Ostroff, senior adviser to the FDA commissioner.

The current outbreak began in October and the agencies initially told people not to eat any romaine lettuce at all. Late last month, the agencies said romaine from six California counties was contaminated.

Now, the CDC has implicated romaine lettuce from just three counties: Monterey, San Benito and Santa Barbara.

Lettuce from Ventura, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties is now likely safe, officials said.