Federal officials on Thursday reported an outbreak of 138 E. coli cases in 25 states linked to romaine lettuce. Seventy-two people have had to go to the hospital.
A common grower in Salinas, California, has been identified as officials work to contain the illnesses during the holiday season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
Officials said consumers do not need to avoid romaine entirely, however.
Under U.S. law, lettuce is not required to be labeled with the farm where it was grown, but companies can choose to include that information. The CDC and FDA recommend throwing away all romaine harvested from Salinas, or avoiding romaine entirely if you cannot be certain it was grown elsewhere. But lettuce grown in other places is safe to consume, the agencies said.
Officials said it’s also safe to eat indoor-grown lettuce ― sometimes referred to as hydroponic or greenhouse-grown.
Restaurant lettuce should be avoided unless the establishment is certain it was not grown in Salinas, the agencies said.
The FDA is currently working to identify the exact source of the contamination so it can request a targeted recall from specific growers.