FDA this week took two actions aimed at preventing future outbreaks of foodborne illness from leafy green vegetables. It released its investigation into a 2020 E. coli outbreak and updated its action plan for preventing the related toxin from landing on vegetables.

The investigation connected the fall outbreak, which sickened at least 40 people, to the Salinas Valley, where two previous outbreaks also originated. Though FDA traced past year outbreaks to romaine lettuce, no evidence pointed to this particular leafy green for the 2020 outbreak.

Because leafy greens have been repeatedly implicated, FDA has a specific action plan for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Revisions to the plan include more public meetings and online tools with details on risks and prevention strategies; closer work with chemical suppliers and water users; and more sampling, especially of romaine lettuce.

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CDFA is helping coordinate a California Longitudinal Study, led by the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the UC Davis Western Center for Food Safety and an industry advisory group.