The year 2018 was a hard time for romaine lettuce. Two massive, multistate E. coli outbreaks associated with leafy greens occurred (even extending into Canada), sickening hundreds of people and killing at least five. But as the outbreaks wound down, the culprit appeared even more difficult to control than leafy greens: It was a matter of contaminated agricultural water. And while the puzzle of making agricultural water safe has challenged food safety experts for a long time, the 2018 outbreaks introduced the question to the general public, many of whom now joined in asking, “How do we ensure the water used to irrigate fresh fruit and vegetables is safe?”
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