Romaine Lettuce Should Be Avoided Again


In the warning, CDC officials said people who have purchased chopped romaine lettuce from stores "should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick".

The illnesses in all the states were reported between March 22 to March 31, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Consumer Reports has warned the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce again after another outbreak of E. coli was tracked back to romaine grown in Arizona.

Consumers who have store-bought chopped romaine at home should not eat it and should throw it away, the CDC said. However, preliminary information indicates that the chopped romaine lettuce was from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

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The outbreak has sickened at least 35 people in 11 states, including 22 people who were hospitalized due to severe food poisoning. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed because of hemolytic uremic syndrome after an E. coli O157:H7 infection.

Symptoms of E. coli infection are varied, but typically include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

Fresh Food Manufacturing Co., based in Freedom, Pennsylvania, recalled 8,757 pounds of ready-to-eat salad after being notified by their lettuce supplier that it may be contaminated with E. Coli O157:H7, according to the USDA. It can take up to 3 to 4 days for symptoms to appear, meaning more cases may be forthcoming.

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. No deaths have been reported. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure. Most of those people ate salad at a restaurant; romaine lettuce was the common ingredient. If you can not confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.

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However, Consumer Reports is advising against consumers purchasing any romaine lettuce regardless of where it's grown while the outbreak is ongoing, including unbagged romaine or hearts of romaine. No specific grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified at this time.

The CDC reports that this investigation remains active, and that it will provide an update when it can.

The federal response to this outbreak stands in contrast to the E. coli outbreak this past winter, when investigators at the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration did not make definitive consumer recommendations.

In addition, the agency recommends asking grocery stores and restaurants to confirm their chopped romaine is not from Yuma.

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Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in an April 13 outbreak update that the investigation continues and that it will share more information as it becomes available.