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E. coli outbreak still a concern for Yuma-area ag industry

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Posted at 12:18 PM, Jan 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-05 14:27:01-05

YUMA, Ariz. - The calendar has turned over to a new year, but agriculture industry in southwestern Arizona's Yuma area isn't forgetting an E. coli outbreak last April that dealt financial setbacks to growers and distributors of romaine lettuce and other leafy greens.

Federal investigators said water samples from an irrigation water canal tested positive for the same genetic type of E. coli that led to 210 reported illnesses and five deaths. And a cattle feedlot was identified was called a potential source of harmful bacteria.

However, nothing definitive turned up at 22 farm fields, and later testing didn't find the outbreak pathogen again in the canal.

Months later, the Yuma Sun reports that new research initiatives are being launched as efforts continue to identify precise vulnerabilities in their industry's practices and infrastructure.