Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

Chopped Romaine Lettuce Unsafe? Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Vegetable

Chopped Romaine Lettuce Unsafe? Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Vegetable

The outbreak is the same potentially deadly strain of E. coli, 0157:H7, that occurred late past year in the USA and Canada, but the CDC does not believe it is connected with the earlier outbreak.

State and local health department officials are investigating multiple reports of E. coli infections likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce.

"Information collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick", the CDC said in the statement, adding the outbreak started on March 22.

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Romaine lettuce, it's great for Cesar salad, it's also a nice addition to tacos and sandwiches, but during your next trip to the grocery store you may want to cross that item off your list. The outbreak has affected about 35 people spread across 11 states of which 22 are hospitalized.

Illnesses have been reported in CT (2), Idaho (8), IL (1), MI (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (7), NY (2), OH (2), Pennsylvania (9), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).

"E. coli can cause serious illness, so it is critical that everyone take precautions by not eating store-bought chopped romaine lettuce, even if you or someone from you family has consumed the product and did not get sick", said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

This recommendation goes beyond the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation, which is to confirm that any bagged romaine didn't originate in the Yuma area before purchasing. There are also four Montana cases suspected to be part of the outbreak and further testing is pending. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.

Symptoms of E. coli O157 include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and abdominal pain. Two of three cases involving a type of kidney failure occurred in Idaho.

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