Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Chopped Romaine Lettuce Unsafe? Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Vegetable

Chopped Romaine Lettuce Unsafe? Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Vegetable

The latest multistate outbreak of E. coli has sickened 35 people, including seven in New Jersey and nine in Pennsylvania. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page. 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.

The outbreak resulted in almost 36 people becoming ill to varying degrees, including 11 in Washington state. Twenty-two of the ill individuals have been hospitalized. People in the previous outbreak were infected with a different DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps 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.

35 sick from E. Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce
Michigan included in multi-state E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated romaine

The CDC reports that early information points to chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region as the potential culprit. Most of those people ate salad at a restaurant; romaine lettuce was the common ingredient. This percentage is significantly higher than results from a survey [787 KB] of healthy people in which 46% reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were interviewed. The health agency is advising people to throw away romaine lettuce, including salad mixes that contain the vegetable.

The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration are continuing to work with state and local health officials to further identify the source of the contaminated romaine.

If you are purchasing romaine lettuce, or have bought some recently, ask the retailers where it is from. "The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads", according to the investigation report which also noted there are no reports involving whole heads or hearts of romaine. Our lawyers represent clients and families of children sickened with bacterial infections in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against retailers, grocery stores, food processors, restaurants, daycare centers, schools, and others.

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