Grape shipments from California are moving in record volume as the season approaches a conclusion.
Between October 13th and November 30th, California grape shipments totaled over 27.7 million 19-pound boxes to domestic and export markets. The USDA report the number beats the previous seven-week record during that time frame set in 2013.
California grape grower-shippers also broke the record for the three-month shipping period from September 1st to November 30th, with over 55 million boxes of grapes, according to the California Table Grape Commission. The previous record was also set in 2013.
Shippers also set a new record for the five-week period of September 8th to October 12th.
Shipments are expected to continue through the end of January.
The Food and Drug Administration has named Adam Bros. Farm in Santa Barbara County, California as one potential source of the E. coli outbreak linked to romaine — but it cautions that the finding does not explain all the illnesses in the outbreak.
Investigators found E. coli in the sediment of an irrigation reservoir used by Adam Bros. Farm, but the FDA continues to search for other sources of contaminated product.
“While the analysis of the strain found in the people who got ill and the sediment in one of this farm’s water sources is a genetic match, our traceback work suggests that additional romaine lettuce shipped from other farms could also likely be implicated in the outbreak,” FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb and deputy commissioner Frank Yiannas said in a statement. “Therefore, the water from the reservoir on this single farm doesn’t fully explain what the common source of the contamination (is). We are continuing to investigate what commonalities there could be from multiple farms in the region that could explain this finding in the water and potentially the ultimate source of the outbreak.”
The investigation has produced records from five restaurants in four states, with those restaurants sourcing from 11 distributors, nine growers and eight farms, according to the FDA.
Currently, there is no one company that is a part of all the supply chains being investigated.