Romaine lettuce not safe to eat, says the CDC

Romaine lettuce not safe to eat, says the CDC

A string of illnesses has been caused by a new E. coli outbreak in the United States and Canada.

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November 20, 2018
Chris Manning

In a statement released Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that romaine lettuce in all forms is unsafe to eat. The CDC is advising consumers and stores to throw away all romaine lettuce due to a new string of illnesses caused by a dangerous strain of E. coli.

According to the alert, 32 people in 11 states have become sick after consuming contaminated romaine. Thirteen of those people have been hospitalized as a result, and one person is suffering from a form of kidney failure. In Canada, 18 people have reported being sick in two provinces. No deaths have been reported.

A map charting the states where E. coli-related illness have been reported, and the number of cases in each state, can be found here.

The CDC has not said where, when or how the contamination occurred, nor linked it to one specific agricultural area or growing method. It is investigating the outbreaks with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), public health officials from several states and the Canadian government.

A common strain of E. coli has been detected in six of the people who have fallen ill, according to the CDC. It is the same strain found in contaminated leafy greens in late 2017 that affected consumers in both the United States and Canada.

In the most recent outbreak,which occurred from March until June of this year, five people died. That outbreak was traced back to the Yuma, Arizona, area. But to date, a specific source of the contamination has not been identified.

This E. coli outbreak and the two before it in the United States have been caused by contamination from the strain E. coli O157:H7, which produces a Shiga toxin that can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

Symptoms of E. coli can be found here.

This is an ongoing story.

Photo: Adobe Stock