Florida-grown romaine lettuce has been cleared in the recent E. coli outbreak, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Tuesday.
“While the federal investigation is ongoing, I’m encouraged that Florida-grown romaine lettuce is not linked to the outbreak and has been cleared to re-enter the marketplace,” Putnam said in a prepared statement.
Late Monday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention narrowed an earlier warning about the outbreak to romaine lettuce harvested in coastal areas of northern and central California.
A Nov. 20 advisory from the CDC recommended that people should not eat any romaine lettuce, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requesting all romaine lettuce be removed from store shelves.
The outbreak has been linked to 43 people in 12 states getting sick, along with 22 people in Canada, according to the Food and Drug Administration. None of the people who became ill were in Florida.
Putnam in a news release said he spoke last Wednesday with Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to urge immediate inspections of Florida fields to speed the reintroduction of Florida romaine into the market. In a follow-up letter the same day to Gottlieb, Putnam said Florida’s harvest was just beginning and “therefore, is not associated with this outbreak.”