Atlanta, Georgia, USA: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, Friday, warned consumers not to eat romaine lettuce amid an outbreak of E. coli in multiple states. The CDC said all romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes, should be thrown away no matter where in the United States it was purchased. Restaurant customers should ask the origin of the lettuce before eating it. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it, the CDC advised.
The CDC said the ongoing outbreak of E. coli was linked to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona.
“Information collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick,” the CDC said in an update on Friday.
The CDC said that no brand, distributor or supplier has been identified in connection with the E. coli outbreak. But it said that anyone who has bought romaine lettuce or salad mixes that contain romaine lettuce should throw it away, and ask restaurants if the romaine lettuce is from the Yuma region. The CDC also advised restaurants against selling any romaine lettuce from Yuma.
The CDC earlier said, Thursday, that it was investigating an E. coli outbreak across at least seven states; that number increased Friday to 11 states. The outbreak has infected 35 people, 22 of whom have been hospitalized. Three have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure.
About 90 percent of all the Romaine lettuce grown in the United States between November and March is grown in and around the Yuma area, according to the city’s website. The site said there are nine salad factories that produce bagged lettuce and salad mixes and process over 2 million pounds of lettuce per day.
E. coli, or Escherichia coli, is a bacteria that normally lives harmlessly in the intestines of people and animals. Some types can cause illness through exposure to contaminated food or water, or contact with animals or other people. Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, often bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.
E. coli can be prevented by thorough hand washing after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, before and after food preparation, and after contact with animals.