FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2012 file photo, a farm worker carries heads of romaine lettuce in a field near Holtville, Calif. In a Nov. 15, 2018 email, James Gorny, a senior science adviser for produce safety at the FDA, wrote that growers “cannot cling to their generic E. coli monitoring standard,” which he called “unacceptable.” The message came five days before the FDA made public another outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, and after a separate outbreak earlier in the year sickened more than 200 and killed five. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Emails show FDA worry after romaine outbreaks

March 29, 2019 - 1:51 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Emails show a U.S. Food and Drug Administration official's concerns about the produce industry's practices after repeated food poisoning outbreaks tied to romaine lettuce.

In emails to colleagues, a senior FDA official said the industry needed to change how it tests water used to grow leafy greens.

Though the FDA has publicly called on the produce industry to step up safety, the emails obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request offer a stark view of the agency's longstanding frustrations with continued outbreaks.

The U.S. saw two outbreaks last year including one before Thanksgiving that prompted the agency to warn consumers to avoid romaine.

The FDA says it has been working with growers and state agencies to improve safety since then.

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