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{mosimage}"Even though the industry has always put the health and safety of the public first, it's clear we must do even more. With that in mind, we are focused on redoubling our efforts to enhance our food safety systems," Silbermann said.

Since September's E.coli contamination of spinach, the produce foodservice and retail supply chains have been embroiled in a public campaign to develop a standardized, uniform system of ensuring the safety of its product from the field to the fork. The latest occurrence, centered on Taco Bell units in the Northeast, originally led investigators to suspect green onions. However, the latest test results presented by the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the most likely offending product was shredded lettuce, though the investigation is ongoing, a point cited in Silbermann's statement.

"The produce industry continues to work closely with state and federal authorities to identify the cause of the outbreak," he said.

Silbermann recognized that the latest E.coli outbreak caused by tainted produce has a "devastating impact" on farmers and all companies that deal with produce.

"The farmers and shippers of lettuce products recognize that their livelihood depends on their ability to provide consumers with safe, healthy, and flavorful eating experiences

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