Tanimura & Antle recalls romaine, Michigan reports E. coli cases

Tanimura & Antle recalls romaine, Michigan reports E. coli cases

(UPDATED Nov. 9) A state agency in Michigan is advising residents not to eat Tanimura & Antle brand romaine lettuce packed as single heads, and the company has issued a recall of the lettuce.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Nov. 6 issued its advisory, the same day the Salinas, Calif.-based company recalled single heads of romaine.

Random testing by the state’s agriculture department found a sample with E. coli, and more testing by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services laboratory determined the strain is “highly related” to the strain linked to two cases being investigated in Michigan, according to news release from the state’s agriculture department.

Tanimura and Antle’s recall covers almost 3,400 cases of single heads of romaine with the Universal Product Code of 0-27918-20314-9. The Produce Traceability Initiative codes on the cartons are 571280289SRS1 and 571280290SRS1.

“At Tanimura & Antle, food safety is a number-one priority and the company prides itself on its preventative measures,” according to the company’s notice posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s website. “It is unlikely that this product remains at retail establishments due to the shelf life of lettuce and the number of days that have passed.”

The sample was from collected at a Walmart in Comstock Park, according to the Michigan agriculture department. According to the Tanimura & Antle notice, its recall “is based on the test result of a random sample collected and analyzed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of their routine sampling program.”

The Tanimura & Antle recall, however, does not list Michigan as a destination for the recalled romaine. The single heads of romaine were packed on Oct. 15-16, and were shipped to Alaska, Oregon, California, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Mexico, South Carolina, Washington, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Massachusetts, Illinois and Puerto Rico.

Three E. coli outbreaks?

The recall and Michigan advisory comes as the FDA is investigating two E. coli outbreaks involving separate strains of the pathogen that “are recurring, emerging or persistent strains,” according to an Oct. 28 news release.

An FDA spokeswoman said the E. coli strain identified with the recalled Tanimura & Antle romaine lettuce is not related to either outbreak strain the agency reported investigating on Oct. 28.

Those two strains are “genetically related” to E. coli outbreaks related to romaine lettuce: one from a 2019 outbreak that led to 23 illnesses, and another from a 2018 outbreak that led to 21 illnesses and one death.

In the Oct. 28 announcement, the FDA said there was no evidence to link the outbreaks to any specific foods, and that a pathogen strain being linked to a food safety event in the past does not prove a link to a current outbreak.

Note on update: The story has been updated to include information from the FDA that the recalled product is not related to two other separate E. coli outbreaks the agency is investigating.

Related story:

FDA says E. coli outbreaks have strains related to past romaine events