Romaine Lettuce Is Now Safe To Eat – CDC

by Kim Boateng Posted on May 17th, 2018

‎Atlanta, Georgia, USA: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), updated it’s advice to consumers regarding the E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, Wednesday evening.

“According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16, 2018 and the harvest season is over. It is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is still available in stores or restaurants due to its 21-day shelf life.

It takes two to three weeks between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported to CDC. The most recent illnesses reported to CDC started when romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was likely still available in stores, restaurants, and in peoples’ homes.” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said.

Twenty-three more ill people from 13 states were added to this investigation since the last update on May 9, 2018 and three more states have reported ill people: Iowa, Nebraska, and Oregon, CDC added.

CDC Advice to Consumers

  • If you have symptoms of an E. coli infection, take action and talk to your healthcare provider.
    • Check for food recalls and information about how to handle and prepare food safely on:
    • Take action if you think you have a foodborne sickness:
      • Talk to your health care provider.
      • Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
      • Report your sickness to the health department if you think you are part of an outbreak.
  • Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your sickness.
  • Consider getting a loyalty card where you shop. If there is a recall, the store can use the card to notify you.
  • Follow these steps to help keep you healthy and your fruits and vegetables safer to eat.
    • At the Grocery Store or Market
      • Choose fruits and vegetables that are free of bruises or damaged spots, unless you plan to cook them.
      • Choose precut and packaged fruits and vegetables that are refrigerated or kept on ice.
      • Separate fruits and vegetables from raw meat, poultry, and seafood in your shopping cart and in your grocery bags.
    • At Home
      • Wash your hands before and after preparing fruits and vegetables.
      • Wash or scrub all fruits and vegetables under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking.
      • Fruits and vegetables labeled “prewashed” do not need to be washed.
      • Store Fruits and Vegetables in the Refrigerator
      • Use Separate Cutting Boards

  • Read more on general ways to prevent E. coli infection. An important step is to wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.

CDC Advice to Clinicians

  • Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli O157 infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli O157 infection is ruled out.
  • CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the FDA are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.
  • 172 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 32 states.
    • 75 people have been hospitalized, including 20 people who have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
    • One death was reported from California.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified people in several Canadian provinces infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7.
  • This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

CDC Advice On Prevention Of E.coli (Escherichia coli)

Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are bacteria found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals.

Most E. coli are harmless and are actually an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract. However, some E. coli can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, bloodstream infections, and other illnesses. The types of E. coli that can cause illness can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or people.

What are Shiga toxin-producing E. coli?

Some kinds of E. coli bacteria cause disease when they make a toxin called Shiga toxin. The bacteria that make these toxins are called “Shiga toxin-producing E. coli,” or STEC for short.

How can I prevent a STEC infection?

  • Know your chances of getting food poisoning. People with higher chances for foodborne illness are pregnant women, newborns, children, older adults, and those with weak immune systems, such as people with cancer, diabetes, or HIV/AIDS
  • Practice proper hygiene, especially good handwashing.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and changing diapers.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after preparing or eating food.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with animals or their environments (at farms, petting zoos, fairs, even your own backyard).
    • Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing and feeding bottles or foods to an infant or toddler, before touching an infant or toddler’s mouth, and before touching pacifiers or other things that go into an infant or toddler’s mouth.
    • Keep all objects that enter infants’ and toddlers’ mouths (such as pacifiers and teethers) clean.
    • If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (check the product label to be sure). These alcohol-based products can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and running water.
  • Follow the four steps to food safety when preparing food: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well under running water, unless the package says the contents have already been washed.

  • Cook meats thoroughly:
    • To kill harmful germs, cook beef steaks and roasts to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (62.6˚C) and allow to rest for 3 minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove.
    • Cook ground beef and pork to a minimum internal temperature of 160°F (70˚C).
    • Always use a food thermometer to check that the meat has reached a safe internal temperature because you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at its color.
  • Don’t cause cross-contamination in food preparation areas. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Avoid raw milk, unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices (such as fresh apple cider).
  • Don’t swallow water when swimming and when playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard “kiddie” pools.

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