US officials declare end to outbreak from romaine lettuce

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are declaring an end to a food poisoning outbreak blamed on romaine lettuce from California.

From October to December, the E. coli outbreak sickened 62 people in 16 states. No one died, but 25 people were hospitalized. Illnesses were also reported in Canada.

Investigators concluded that romaine lettuce grown in central and northern California was the likely source. They found the same bacteria strain in a reservoir at a farm in Santa Barbara County.

Officials said Wednesday that no new illnesses have been reported for a month, and lettuce from the area is no longer in stores or restaurants. Romaine harvesting has since shifted to winter growing areas, primarily Arizona, Florida, Mexico and California's Imperial Valley.

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E. coli outbreak impacts farmers
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E. coli outbreak impacts farmers
In this April 26, 2018, photo, workers plant romaine lettuce at the EG Richter Family Farm in Puyallup, Wash. The farm sells most of it's lettuce to large local grocery store chains, and owner Tim Richter says that so far his farm hasn't been affected by warnings that romaine lettuce from Yuma, Ariz., apparently has been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. Richter says he urges consumers to stay away from bagged lettuce and to always cut and wash their own produce. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this April 26, 2018, photo, Noe Contrez, left, and Jesus Flores, right, plant romaine lettuce at the EG Richter Family Farm in Puyallup, Wash. The farm sells most of it's lettuce to large local grocery store chains, and owner Tim Richter says that so far his farm hasn't been affected by warnings that romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, apparently has been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. Richter says he urges consumers to stay away from bagged lettuce and to always cut and wash their own produce. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Workers plant romaine lettuce, Thursday, April 26, 2018, at the EG Richter Family Farm in Puyallup, Wash. The farm sells most of it's lettuce to large local grocery store chains, and owner Tim Richter says that so far his farm hasn't been affected by warnings that romaine lettuce from Yuma, Ariz., apparently has been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. Richter says he urges consumers to stay away from bagged lettuce and to always cut and wash their own produce. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this April 26, 2018, photo Noe Contrez carries a tray of romaine lettuce transplants as he walks next to a planter towed by a tractor at the EG Richter Family Farm in Puyallup, Wash. The farm sells most of it's lettuce to large local grocery store chains, and owner Tim Richter says that so far his farm hasn't been affected by warnings that romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, apparently has been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. Richter says he urges consumers to stay away from bagged lettuce and to always cut and wash their own produce. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this April 26, 2018, photo, Tim Richter, left, and his son Timothy Richter, check a recent planting of romaine lettuce at their EG Richter Family Farm in Puyallup, Wash. The farm sells most of it's lettuce to large local grocery store chains, and Tim Richter says that so far his farm hasn't been affected by warnings that romaine lettuce from Yuma, Ariz., apparently has been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. Richter says he urges consumers to stay away from bagged lettuce and to always cut and wash their own produce. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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