The romaine-lettuce E. coli outbreak has been pinned on at least one farm in California with infected reservoir water

Adam Bros. Farms in Santa Barbara County, California.

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Adam Bros. Farms in Santa Barbara County, California.
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Google Maps

  • Romaine lettuce infected with the E. coli bacteria strain that sickened people across 15 US states has been traced to at least one farm in California.
  • Sediment in a water reservoir at Adam Bros. Farms in Santa Barbara County tested positive for the strain, the Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday.
  • Though the agency named only one farm, it said the E. coli bacteria strain was likely more widespread.
  • Investigators said they identified two other California counties, Monterey and San Benito, as possibly linked to the outbreak.
  • It is the second E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce this year, but officials have said they are not related. The first, earlier this year, sickened more than 200 people and killed five.

The romaine-lettuce E. coli outbreak that sickened at least 59 people across 15 states has been pinned on at least one farm in California where sediment in a water reservoir was found to have the strain of the bacteria.

The US Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday that it had traced the outbreak, announced on November 20, to at least one location: Adam Bros. Farms in Santa Barbara County.

It said infected lettuce may have also come from nearby Monterey and San Benito counties and that “additional romaine lettuce shipped from other farms could also likely be implicated in the outbreak.”

Adam Bros. Farms, 180 miles up the coast from Los Angeles.

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Adam Bros. Farms, 180 miles up the coast from Los Angeles.
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Google Maps

Some strains of the E. coli bacteria, which live in the intestines of people and animals, can cause symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal cramps, though in severe cases they can cause kidney failure or even death, the FDA said.

Read more: Chicken is the most common source of foodborne illness – here’s how to keep yourself safe

Romaine lettuce has been at the center of two E. coli outbreaks in 2018.

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Romaine lettuce has been at the center of two E. coli outbreaks in 2018.
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Shutterstock/Pj Aun

After the outbreak was confirmed in late November, the CDC said people should avoid romaine lettuce altogether.

“Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick,” it said.

The FDA said Adam Bros. Farms hadn’t shipped any romaine lettuce since November 20, but the agency advised people to avoid lettuce grown in Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Benito counties.

It’s the second E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce so far in 2018 – the first, earlier this year, sickened more than 200 people and killed five. The CDC has said the two are not related.

The FDA said Adam Bros. Farms was cooperating with its investigation.

Read more: Here’s everything you need to know about E. coli