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Fried urges consumers to look for Florida lettuce

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried urged people to look for the “Fresh From Florida” logo on romaine lettuce after federal health officials issued a warning about an E.coli outbreak that is likely from the Salinas growing region of California.

“We strongly advise consumers to seek romaine lettuce with the “Fresh From Florida” logo ensuring it’s Florida-grown, and to avoid products that state and federal inspectors have found to carry risk of illness,” Fried said in a prepared statement.

On Friday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory regarding an E.coli outbreak that has affected up to 40 people across 16 states. More than half have required hospitalization.

The CDC said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is tracing the source of the romaine lettuce eaten by people who got ill.

“Preliminary information indicates that some of the ill people ate lettuce grown in Salinas, California,” the CDC advisory states. “No common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified."

This is the second time in just over a year that Florida agriculture officials have tried to assure consumers of the safety of Florida-grown lettuce after an E. coli outbreak.

In November 2018, after the CDC recommended that people not eat romaine lettuce and the Food and Drug Administration called for lettuce to be removed from store shelves, then-Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam issued a statement saying, “I’m encouraged that Florida-grown romaine lettuce is not linked to the outbreak and has been cleared to re-enter the marketplace.”