FDA Report Details E. Coli Outbreak Stemming From Yuma-Area Irrigation Ditch

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Friday, November 2, 2018 - 2:11pm
Jackie Hai/KJZZ
Romaine lettuce on grocery store shelves in 2018.

The Food and Drug Administration released a new report on the investigation into what caused a multi-state e. coli outbreak that originated from Yuma lettuce. Now, Arizona growers have adopted new safety standards for the latest growing season.

The contamination, which led to the largest E. coli outbreak in 10 years, stemmed from a 3.5 mile-long irrigation ditch supplying 36 fields on 23 farms.

The full report says the pathogen could have come from the waste of a nearby large concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).

The investigation found contamination could have been spread farther by putting romaine from different farms together in processing facilities.

In response, the FDA is starting a new project to analyze romaine samples for contamination.

Some Arizona growers have tripled buffer zones between their lettuce crops and the CAFOs to be 1,200 feet.

Officials say 210 people in 36 states were sickened by the contamination.

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