Warning from CDC: Do not eat romaine lettuce

35 sick from E. Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce

E. Coli Outbreak Possibly Linked To Contaminated Lettuce, CDC Warns

The CDC on Friday advised consumers anywhere in the United States not to eat and throw away any store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce.

"At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified", the CDC said.

Consumer Reports today urged the public to avoid all romaine lettuce for now, based on an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened 35 people in 11 states, as a Pennsylvania company recalled 8,757 pounds of ready-to-eat salads that may be contaminated. If you do not know if the chopped lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

According to a spokesperson for Covelli Enterprises, which owns more than 300 Panera restaurants, the company has found a new supplier from outside the Yuma, Arizona region to provide romaine.

Twenty-two of those affected had to be hospitalized in the current outbreak, including three with kidney failure, CR reported.

That's similar to the recall Freshway made during the 2010 romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak after an unopened product sample tested positive for E. coli. The CDC advises anyone with these symptoms to seek medical attention as E. coli infection is typically diagnosed via a stool sample. In most cases, symptoms appear three to four days after the bacteria is ingested. No deaths have been reported.

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Last year, an outbreak of 17 E. coli infections were reported in 13 states across the United States, all of which occurred from November 15, 2017 through December 8, 2017.

"Individuals with this infection usually get better within about 5 to 7 days, however some illnesses can be serious or even life-threatening", Dr. Shereef Elnahal, commissioner of the state Department of Health, said in a statement.

CDC investigators don't believe this outbreak is connected to the one that occurred late previous year in the United States and Canada, although it is the same potentially deadly strain, E.coli O157:H7. If you can not confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.

The romaine lettuce is sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. Some reported illnesses occurred after consumers ate lettuce from casual restaurants. There is no information to indicate that whole head romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine are involved in this outbreak. The Produce Marketing Association, Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, United Fresh and Western Growers released a statement on the outbreak, and reassured consumers that almost all romaine lettuce now being harvested and shipped throughout the U.S.is from the California growing areas.

The FDA is continuing to investigate this outbreak and will share more information as it becomes available.

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