GREENFIELD, Ind. — A recent recall on all romaine lettuce in the United States has been modified to a recall on romaine lettuce that is grown in California’s Central Coast and Salinas Valley.

“The recall is changing on an ongoing basis. The thought at first was to throw out all romaine lettuce, now the recall is to throw out all romaine lettuce in a series of six counties in California,” said Roy Ballard, a Purdue Extension agriculture and natural resources educator in Hancock County.

Between Oct. 8 and Oct. 31, more than 43 people in 12 different states were infected with a strain of Shiga toxin that produces E. coliO157:H7.

Ballard said romaine coming from states such as New Mexico and Florida is safe to eat. Lettuce should be labeled with the state it came from.

“One thing coming out of this will be that all romaine lettuce will show up at the store with the location and state it was produced in,” Ballard said.

Ballard also shared some important tips for consumers to keep in mind when preparing produce before consumption.

Always wash produce. Ballard said it is always a good practice for consumers to wash romaine lettuce or any type of produce before consuming it. No soaps or bleach should be used, but just good, clean potable water. While this won’t get rid of all bacteria on the produce, a good wash will help dislodge any dirt that may have bacteria on it.

Don’t cross contaminate produce. Ballard said consumers should not contaminate produce by putting it on cutting boards which previously had been used for meat or poultry. Before using a cutting board, individuals should sanitize it with a bleach solution.

Ashley Langreck can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 192, or alangreck@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Langreck.

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