FDA reveals results of sample testing program on romaine lettuce

The FDA today reported it did not find any troublesome E. coli or Salmonella strains in samples of romaine collected for a special investigation program, but the agency cautioned that the samples represent a “relatively small” portion of romaine lettuce grown in certain areas.

“The findings of this assignment suggest that microbial contamination – to the extent that it may have been present – was not widespread at the 137 FDA-registered facilities and farms where agency investigators collected samples during the period of this field activity,” according to the report about the testing conducted by the Food and Drug Administration in 2019 and 2020.

“The FDA cautions against making any further inferences based solely on this assignment’s findings given that the sample size was relatively small and in view of the fact that multiple foodborne illness outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce have occurred in recent years.”

None of the samples were collected directly from growing fields and the agency did not test any fresh-cut romaine, such as bagged salads, which has been linked to several outbreaks. The FDA found a strain of E. coli in one sample, but it determined the strain was not likely dangerous to humans.

Source:  Food Safety News