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After nearly three months of avoiding all types of romaine lettuce grown from the Salinas Valley region, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration announced the nationwide outbreak “appears to be over.”
As of Jan. 15, both agencies dropped their warning to avoid the crop harvested in the Golden State.
The "contaminated romaine lettuce that made people sick in this outbreak harvested from the Salinas Valley growing region in California is no longer available for sale,” the CDC announced Wednesday.
The E. coli outbreak sickened 167 people across 27 states, the CDC said. No one died, but 85 people were hospitalized including 15 people who developed a type of kidney failure.
The illnesses were reported between Sept. 20, 2019, and Dec. 21, 2019, and affected people from younger than 1 to 89, health officials said. Illnesses were also reported in Canada.
Since late November, health officials began alerting consumers to avoid the crop as they investigated a multistate E.coli outbreak that occurred just before Thanksgiving. The outbreak mimicked a similar case that occurred around the same time in 2018 and led to a blanket warning about romaine.
During the investigation, officials urged supermarkets and restaurants not to sell or serve all types of romaine from the Salinas region, including whole heads, hearts and pre-cut salad mixes.
In its "final update" of the investigation, the agency announced that no new illnesses have been reported for nearly a month and lettuce from the area is no longer in stores or restaurants.
CDC officials concluded that romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas Valley growing region was the likely source.
However, the Food and Drug Administration plans to continue its own "in-depth, root-cause investigation" in an effort to understand and prevent future foodborne illnesses linked to the leafy greens.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.