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E.coli linked to Santa Maria company recalling additional produce

SANTA MARIA — Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. is recalling red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce and cauliflower harvested Nov. 27 through 30, out of an abundance of caution, because it may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 bacteria (E. coli O157:H7) a genetically related strain that was also isolated in ill people and caused the multistate outbreak in October and November.

The FDA urges the public from eating romaine lettuce from Monterey, San Benito and Santa Barbara counties. Originally any romaine lettuce harvested before Nov. 23 from San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and Ventura counties was also on the “do not eat list.”

Since time has passed the fresh stock available to the public is now cleared to eat romaine from San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and Ventura counties. As well as hydroponic or greenhouse-grown romaine lettuce, which has not been linked to the outbreak whatsoever.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli a bacteria may cause a diarrheal illness within 2-8 days of consuming contaminated food. Most healthy adults can recover within a week.

To date, 59 people became ill in 15 states and the District of Columbia, with the last reported case on Nov. 16. Officials are working with the Public Health Agency of Canada in their closely related E. coli outbreak, which shares the same DNA fingerprint.

This E.coli outbreak started on Oct. 5 and people affected range in age from 1 to 84 years. So far 23 have been hospitalized, including two people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses that occurred after Nov. 21, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported — which can take an average of two to three weeks.

The Adams Bros. Farming recall was initiated after the FDA, CDC and state partners were investigating farms and cooling facilities that were identified in their traceback investigation.

The CDC analyzed water and sediment samples taken from Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. and had discovered that sediment from a reservoir — near where the produce was grown tested positive for E. coli O157: H7 the same strain that caused so many to become ill. However, filtered and treated water from the reservoir may have come in contact with the produce after it was harvested. Yet, none of the filtered, treated water tested positive for E. coli, all E.coli tests return negative. An additional seven other farms were also identified in the traceback.

Adams Bros. Farming issued a statement about the recall on Dec. 13 saying, “Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. feels a strong commitment to its customers and has worked for years to provide a safe and healthy food supply. Out of an abundance of caution, Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. is initiating this voluntary recall in cooperation with the FDA.”

Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. has notified its affected customers of all product that was recalled, asking that the product not be eaten, sold, or transferred. Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. asked that its customers notify the downline chain of custody to ensure a full recall.

Cauliflower was distributed to wholesalers in Ariz., Calif., Ill., La., Md., N.C., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Pa.. Tijuana, Mexico, and Canada; red and green leaf lettuce was distributed to wholesalers in Calif., Colo., Ore., Texas, Pa., Wash., and Canada; red leaf lettuce only was distributed to a wholesaler in Minn., and Tijuana, Mexico. Consumers who have purchased any of the referenced product are urged to return it to the place of purchase or destroy it. Consumers with questions may contact the Adam Bros. Farming Inc. company at 1-805-925-0339.

So far none of the additional recalled products has tested positive for E. coli O157: H7 and no illnesses have been reported involving Adam Bros. Farming. Inc.

FDA is continuing to investigate to learn more about how the E. coli bacteria could have entered the agricultural water reservoir and ways romaine lettuce from the farm could have been contaminated. The traceback work suggests that additional romaine shipped from other farms could be linked to the outbreak and they are continuing its investigation.

“We are continuing to investigate what commonalities there could be from multiple farms in the region that could explain this finding in the water, and potentially the ultimate source of the outbreak.” a statement from Dec. 13 from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. and FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.