Romaine Lettuce Infected with E. Coli: 23 States, 100+ Cases, 58 People Hospitalized
There is a multistate outbreak of e. coli in romaine lettuce that has been grown and harvested in the Salinas, California region. All romaine lettuce, including heads or hearts of romaine, organic romaine, and any salad mixes or wraps that include romaine lettuce which are coming from the Salinas rowing region, have been recalled for contamination with e. coli. There are over a hundred reported cases of e. coli illness in 23 different states and of those over half (58) have been hospitalized. The Centers of Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasize the importance of checking where lettuce was grown prior to use as officials try to contain this massive outbreak.
The CDC says:
“Look for a label showing where the romaine lettuce was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker. If the label says, “grown in Salinas” (whether alone or with the name of another location), don’t eat it. Throw it away. If it isn’t labeled with a growing region, don’t eat it. Throw it away. If you don’t know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix or wrap contains romaine, don’t eat it. Throw it away.”
At Ohio State University, a food science expert, Dr. Sanja Illic, explains that the packaging of romaine lettuce may look the same, but the product label could indicate different origins and that checking this label is the consumers’ best chance to ensure that they are eating safe produce.
E.coli bacteria causes initial symptoms of abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and sometimes, a fever. It is important to contact a health professional for testing and treatment early on when symptoms appear to keep from developing potentially life- threatening conditions such as dehydration or hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which causes kidney failure.
Health officials are continuing to investigate the source of the e. coli outbreak and as of current time, there is no common grower, supplier, or brand of romaine lettuce identified. The only found similarity is when the romaine lettuce has been grown in Salinas, California. The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of the contamination, whether it be from the irrigation, the soil or from human contact.