California grower named as romaine supplier in E. coli outbreak

07/18/2012 12:38:00 PM
Coral Beach

Health officials have traced romaine lettuce blamed for E. coli illnesses in California and Canada to California grower Amazing Coachella Inc.

California Department of Public Health officials confirmed that the romaine linked to the April outbreak was grown and distributed by Amazing Coachella Inc., which is the parent company of Peter Rabbit Farms, both based in Coachella, Calif.

John Powell Jr., chief executive officer at Amazing Coachella and Peter Rabbit Farms, declined comment July 18.

The E. coli outbreak sickened at least nine people in California. Most of those victims ate at “a single unnamed restaurant” according to California public health officials. At least one case of the same strain of E. coli 0157:H7 was reported in Quebec.

Another 18 people who ate at a Jungle Jim’s restaurant in Miramichi, New Brunswick, also became ill, according to Denis Allard, deputy chief medical officer for the New Brunswick Department of Health.

“We think (the contamination) was not introduced at the restaurant level because of the other outbreaks in California and Quebec,” Allard said in early July.

The suspect romaine was distributed as whole heads, not fresh cut, according to California officials.

California health officials said the romaine was shipped to a distributor in Quebec, and also supplied to the California restaurant and the Miramichi, New Brunswick, restaurant, Jungle Jim’s. When officials investigated the growing operation, the fields had already been tilled in preparation for the next season.

“CDPH and FDA followed up at the farm but were unable to identify any issues that could have led to the contamination,” according to a statement from the California Department of Public Health. “The field had long since been harvested at the time of the investigation and all lettuce from the implicated lots had long since been consumed or disposed.”

California officials also reported they did not ask the grower to make any changes or take any additional food safety precautions. Their investigation is closed, but they said they “will continue to monitor for additional positive sample results or illnesses associated with the firm’s products.”

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CA  |  July, 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Maybe now they will consider renaming themselves to "Amazing E. Coli of Coachella, Inc.", d/b/a: No Comment Co.

lynchburg,va  |  July, 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM

this is funny--problably out of a 100th of thousand head of lettuce only a few(maybe 10) had a questional proble!!! I think the best thing is not to eat anything and you be safe!!

usa  |  July, 18, 2012 at 08:34 PM

Research human sewage sludge (now called biosolids) - yes, USA actively promotes using it for fertilizer. If bag doesnt say certified organic, u probably 8 food grown in medical, industrial, and yes, human waste. Bon appetit.

Chip Seck    
Salinas Valley  |  July, 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Hum Dingr. , That is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard. Obviously, you have NO idea what you are talking about. There are no such materials being used in conventional production, if anything, I would say you have a better chance of finding this in Organic. Want to talk about the number of issues associated with Organic sprouts?????????

Steve Scaroni    
Heber, Salinas, Yuma, GTO Mex.  |  July, 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM

So a GOVERNMENT report "says" the e-coli came from a Peter Rabbit Farm and we just believe the Gov't report, and some commentaries to this article want to throw Peter Rabbit a good Multi Generation, Family owned group of hard workers under the bus. Let me guess "steve" and "hum_dinger" must be academia, just saying..

educate the stupid    
ma  |  July, 19, 2012 at 12:42 PM

obviously "hum_dinger" who claims to be from Bon Appetit is absolutely clueless. Because "organic" farms cannot use inorganic materials to fertilize the need to use "bio"-materials in order to grow a crop. That would include biosolids and other manures. I've never heard of an e-coli outbreak from synthetic calcium nitrate has anyone? Hey hum_dinger let me guess you probably think organic vegetable are not sprayed either don't you. Try doing your homework before you continue to make a fool of yourself.

The Flat Packer    
Salinas,El Centro,Yuma  |  July, 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Sludge is not allowed in vegetables son, only approved compost, organic depends in compost too, I do organic lettuce. Food Safety auditors would have a field trip on me if I were to apply such a risk of a material as sludge. They do their job well. Yes, sludge and bio solids are used in other crops intended for other uses! Not fresh vegetables, so far, a few industry professionals have already commented and thats all thats needed to strip you of your Packer cred. As far as I am concerned, on this website, you're toast. This site is intended for industry professionals and veggie enthusiasts, not people who want to throw their crap around trying to get a rise out of us. You are a behind the computer hit and run, sadly others including me have to nail you guys down and set you straight. Get out of this site. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME.

Salinas,CA  |  July, 24, 2012 at 05:59 PM

That's so unfortunate that happened to those growers. Something good should evolve from this situation.

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