News and Stories

FOOD SAFETY UPDATE: FDA Ends Investigation of E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in U.S. Likely Linked to Leafy Greens

March 01, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ended an extensive traceback investigation of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections that were likely linked to leafy greens. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on January 25, 2018 that the outbreak appeared to be over and FDA's outbreak investigation team continued to work with federal, state, and local partners to determine the possible leafy greens that were the cause, where they came from, and what distribution chain was associated with the affected products to identify a possible origin. After exhausting all possible leads, both U.S. and Canadian authorities were not able to identify a common supplier, distributor or retailer from their respective investigations.


United States

  • A total of 25 STEC O157:H7 infections were reported from 15 States: California (4), Connecticut (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Maryland (3), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), New York (2), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1)
  • Illnesses started on dates from November 15 to December 12, 2017
  • Among the 18 ill people for whom CDC has information, nine were hospitalized, including one person in California who died.
    • Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.
  • Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) showed that the STEC O157:H7 strain from ill people in the United States is closely related genetically to the STEC O157:H7 strain from ill people in Canada
    • WGS data alone are not sufficient to prove a link; health officials rely on other sources of data, such as interviews from ill people, to support the WGS link
  • State and local public health officials continue to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started
    • Of 13 people interviewed, all 13 reported eating leafy greens


  • To date, 41 people from 5 provinces, Ontario (8), Quebec (14), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13), have been infected with the outbreak strain of E. Coli O157 
  • 17 of the ill persons have been hospitalized
  • One death has been reported
  • Illnesses occurred in November and December 2017
  • Individuals who became ill are between the ages of 3 and 85
  • The majority of the cases (73%) are female 

For more detailed information regarding the U.S. and Canadian E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks, please feel free to visit the FDA, CDC, and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) websites below:

Click here for more information from the FDA.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

Click here for more information from the Government of Canada's Public Health Notice.

Markon will continue to update members should more information become available.

Angie Ramirez

Food Safety Program Manager

© 2018 Markon Cooperative, Inc. All rights reserved.