An outbreak of E. coli linked to lettuce that has sickened more than 50 people across more than a dozen states has spread to California.
To keep yourself and your family safe, the CDC recommends avoiding any romaine lettuce products that could be contaminated.
"Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick", the CDC says on its website.
In total, 31 out of 48 people with available information have been hospitalized - a rate of 65% - including five people who have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
The CDC is advising restaurants and retailers to take caution by not serving or selling any chopped romaine lettuce, including in a salad, and to ask their suppliers for details on their source.
"For leafy greens, only a few men and women are getting to possess a bag of lettuce or a sour salad or something else like that at the refrigerator a couple weeks once they became ill", even Dr. Gieraltowski stated. The outbreak is widespread, spanning 11 states and hospitalizing at least 22 people.
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Chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, area is thought to be the source of the outbreak. Around 95 percent of those interviewed claim to have eaten romaine lettuce in the week before they began to experience symptoms.
"It is unrealistic to expect consumers to figure out whether their romaine was produced in Arizona or somewhere else, especially when eating in a restaurant", says Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports. Symptoms vary and can range from mild to severe diarrhea to nausea and vomiting.
Usually, illness sets in "an average of three to four days after swallowing the germ".
The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads.
Forty-one of 43 people interviewed by health officials reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started.