Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce

  • Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce

Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce

The latest multistate outbreak of E. coli has sickened 35 people, including seven in New Jersey and nine in Pennsylvania.

The romaine lettuce is sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona.

Restaurants and stores are advised not to serve or sell chopped romaine lettuce.

"Consumer Reports is making this recommendation given the potentially fatal consequences of E. coli, the fact that there are still several unknowns about this outbreak, and that no type of romaine has been ruled definitively safe by government officials", Consumer Reports Director of Food Safety Research and Testing James E. Rogers, Ph.D., said.

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

"If you can not confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it", the CDC said.

"Consumer Reports' experts believe that it could be hard for consumers to determine where the romaine they purchase is from, which is why they believe it's best to avoid the lettuce altogether", Consumer Reports said in a release. While no deaths related to the outbreak have been reported, symptoms of E. coli can present as diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. These people reported becoming ill in the time period of March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018. Twenty-six (93%) of 28 people interviewed reported consuming romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started.

The CDC reports that this investigation remains active, and that it will provide an update when it can. There is no information to indicate that whole head romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine are involved in this outbreak.

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. No specific grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified at this time. "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", she says. If you have already purchased products containing chopped romaine lettuce, including bagged salads, salad mixes, or prepared salads, throw them away.

Consumers who have symptoms of STEC infection should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care. 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. The DNA fingerprint of the bacteria in that outbreak is different.