Romaine Lettuce Again Fingered as the Likely Source for a Third E coli O157:H7 Outbreak
The FDA has announced a potential source for at least one of the E coli O157:H7 outbreaks of Fall 2020. Continuing their investigation of two E coli O157:H7 outbreaks with no official source, the FDA now believes the recently recalled Tanimura & Antle, Inc. single head romaine lettuce is not the source of either of those two outbreaks because the genetic strain of E coli O157:H7 is not a match. However, the FDA speculates the recalled Tanimura & Antle, Inc. romaine lettuce could be the source of another “third” outbreak, though more information is needed. There have been 12 reported illnesses due to this outbreak strain, which resulted in at least 5 hospitalizations so far.
The latest illness onset date was October 14, 2020, and the illnesses were found throughout the United States in the following six states: CA (2), IL (4), MI (2), OH (1), PA (2), and VA (1).
The recalled packaged single-head romaine lettuce product is labeled with UPC number 0-27918-20314-9, being packed on 10/15/2020 or 10/16/2020. 3,396 cartons of the lettuce were distributed in the following states: AK, OR, CA, TX, AR, OK, IN, NE, MO, TN, WI, NM, SC, WA, NC, OH, VA, MA, PR, and IL.
E. coli lawyer Ron Simon stated that:
“It is highly likely more illnesses will be reported due to the three outbreaks. The recalled romaine lettuce should be avoided at all costs to avoid potential infection. However, for the two outbreaks with no source, consumers have been left defenseless. The FDA must work tirelessly to find the source(s) of these outbreaks.”
According to the CDC, Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli (STEC) infections symptoms typically begin 3 to 4 days after exposure to the bacteria, though some report symptoms between 1 to 10 days after exposure. Symptoms of a STEC infection include classic food poisoning symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, as well as a low grade fever. STEC infections typically resolve without treatment within 5 to 7 days, though a healthcare provider should be contacted in cases with a high fever or severe diarrhea or vomiting.