Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released the 2020 Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan, outlining steps the agency plans to take this year to advance the safety of leafy greens. While most strains of E. coli are harmless, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC, can be life-threatening. The most common STEC, E. coli O157:H7, is the type most often associated with outbreaks.
Fresh leafy greens are an important part of an overall healthy diet. While millions of servings of leafy greens are consumed safely every day, this produce commodity has been too often implicated in outbreaks of foodborne illness. Between 2009 and 2018, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 40 foodborne outbreaks of STEC infections with a confirmed or suspected link to leafy greens in the U.S.
In an FDA Voices article, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas highlight the importance of FDA’s action plan and the agency’s focus on prevention, response and addressing knowledge gaps.
The FDA intends to hold a webinar in coming weeks to further discuss the action plan with interested stakeholders. More information, including how to register for the webinar, will soon be available on FDA.gov.
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