Last week, the FDA said the strain of E. coli O157:H7 causing the current outbreak is genetically link to the strain the caused an outbreak last fall in the USA and Canada Twenty-five people got sick - including one death and two incidents of hemolytic uremic syndrome - in 15 states.
Agency officials say consumers should check revamped labels that will now say where and when their romaine was grown.
The FDA cautions against the purchase of any romaine lettuce and advises people to throw out any romaine lettuce at home.
It's OK to eat romaine lettuce again, federal health officials said Monday - as long as you're sure it wasn't grown on California's north and central coast.
Yuma - a major greens growing region located right at the nexus of the California, Arizona and Mexico borders - has just begun to harvest romaine lettuce.
"Those who are experiencing food poisoning symptoms after consuming Romaine lettuce are advised to seek immediate medical attention at the nearest clinic or hospital."
"We remain committed to identifying ways to decrease the incidence and impact of food borne illness outbreaks, and will continue to provide updates on our investigation and changes to our advice on romaine lettuce as more information becomes available", Gottlieb said.
The strain of E. coli O157:H7 in the current outbreak appears to be similar to a strain that caused an outbreak across the US and Canada previous year in which 25 people fell ill and one person died.
Officials have genetically linked the outbreak to the same E. coli strain that affected lettuce in 2017. Canada linked its cases to romaine lettuce specifically, but United States investigators said only that the origin was in leafy greens.
The FDA made this move in an abundance of caution as the origin of the contaminated lettuce wasn't known and remains unknown.
Federal health officials said on Monday (Nov 26) that only romaine lettuce from certain parts of California is unsafe to eat and romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labelled to give consumers information about when and where it was harvested. Wu agrees: "Other leafy greens are not now implicated in the E. coli outbreak, so until further notice it should be safe to consume these", she says.
Growers and handlers in the region tightened food safety measures after the outbreak this spring, the industry says.
The agency's announcement follows a stern warning issued two days before Thanksgiving, by the CDC, telling consumers nationwide not only to stop eating romaine lettuce, but also to scrub and sanitize drawers or shelves where it has been stored.
Food poisoning outbreaks from leafy greens are not unusual.