‘Throw out’ this lettuce, warns CDC. It may have E. coli, as outbreak hits these 16 states

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their E. coli outbreak warning for the US. The CDC now reports E. coli outbreaks in 16 states related to romaine lettuce, chopped salad kits, and potentially romaine lettuce served in restaurants and popular eateries.

The number of E. coli lettuce outbreaks has surged the previous days with at least 60 people in 16 states who have gotten sick from eating E. coli infected lettuce since March 31, and half of them have been hospitalized for illnesses related to romaine lettuce. Five of them developed a type of potentially life-threatening kidney failure.

This new warning comes on the heels of a previous warning limited only to chopped lettuce kits, but now includes ALL romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona area where the contaminated produce found its way into grocery stores and some restaurants across the country. The outbreak has spread to consumers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Washington. See the complete list.

Because this outbreak involves a strain of E. coli bacteria (O157:H7) that can lead to serious illness and death, officials are asking everyone to follow CDC recommendations and avoid any romaine lettuce products that could be contaminated.

Symptoms related to eating romaine lettuce infected with E. coli include stomach aches and cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Anyone with these symptoms should immediately contact a healthcare provider.

Many people have asked: Is it really necessary to throw out all of your romaine lettuce? Would washing it off thoroughly help?” Ian Williams, chief of the CDC’s Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch wants people to know washing your lettuce off will not make you safe. “This bacteria can actually get inside the lettuce leaf,” the CDC warns. “Washing it doesn’t make it safe.”

What about restaurants? Yes, they are affected by this warning, too. That means the next time you go out to eat, caution is urged if your sandwich or salad contains romaine lettuce — either in whole or mixed.

E. coli Outbreak Update: Based on new data, CDC advises throwing away whole heads of romaine and hearts of romaine, plus chopped romaine and salad mixes, from Yuma, Arizona growing region. As limited as this sounds, Arizona is a year-round agricultural state that exports produce to all 50 states, so consumers are urged to know where their lettuce comes from.

We are not out of the woods just yet. The CDC’s warning is still in effect and should be headed. Because Yuma-grown romaine lettuce finds its way into many green products around the country, it is still possible you could get sick.

“Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona growing region,” a CDC spokesman warned. “Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.”

If you have chopped lettuce in your refrigerator and you are not sure if it is romaine, you should still throw it away, the agency said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their lettuce E. coli outbreak warning for the US.


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