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Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

Santa Maria romaine lettuce is safe after E.Coli breakout in Salinas



The E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce has left store shelves on the Central Coast empty.
But good news for salad lovers just in time for Thanksgiving.
The potentially contaminated products have been cleared from shelves and local grocers said they get new safe shipments in from other regions by Tuesday.

The romaine lettuce E.-coli outbreak has left 40 people sick in 16 different states and is linked to Salinas. Experts reassure locals that romaine lettuce grown in the Santa Maria Valley is safe.

"We were fortunate we had some local romaine we pick up last week. That has become very very scarce because people are looking for it," said John Spencer, the owner of Spencer's Fresh Markets.

Local restaurants like Natural Cafe are serving up romaine and assure customer they are in the clear.

"We source all of our romaine from Lompoc and Ventura and this outbreak is located up in Salinas.
We don't source any of our produce from that far away, so we are not affected by that at all," said Natural Cafe manager Kira Castellanos.

Spencers Fresh Markets tell us new safe shipments from other regions are on their way.

"We are going to be getting all our shipments in tomorrow Tuesday and it's all safe to eat. It's all coming from the Yuma Arizona the desert area," explained Spencer's Fresh Markets manager Kevin Bjork.

According to the Centers for Disease Control the Salinas outbreak contained the same E-Coli strain found in outbreaks in 2017 and 2018.

Most stores should have already cleared Salinas romaine off their shelves, but experts say you should read labels anyway to be safe.

"Once we received notification we pulled all the affected product or what was know as the product from that area of the farming region," said Spencer.

The FDA reports 28 people were hospitalized in the outbreak. No deaths have been reported.

A local Santa Maria romaine grower said all production of the lettuce in our region and the Salinas area is coming to a seasonal end - possibly as early as this week - because of the upcoming winter season.

Agriculture / California
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Naja Hill

Naja Hill is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Naja, click here.

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