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17 April 2018, 01:03 | Randall Craig
Chopped Romaine Lettuce Unsafe? Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Vegetable
Although none of the confirmed E. coli cases have yet been linked to Fresh Foods, the company is concerned that its romaine supplier may have been involved in the outbreak.
The contaminated lettuce was sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma.
Chopped romaine lettuce has been linked to dozens of cases of E. coli and anyone who has the leafy green in their refrigerator is told to throw it away immediately, health officials said Friday. Numerous cases so far were contracted from salad mixes used in restaurants, but some cases have been linked to bagged romaine purchased in stores.
"Individuals with this infection usually get better within about 5 to 7 days, however some illnesses can be serious or even life-threatening", Dr. Shereef Elnahal, commissioner of the state Department of Health, said in a statement.
Panera bread says they have begun getting shipments of romaine lettuce from a different provider, after a warning from the Centers for Disease Control regarding a possible E. coli contamination in romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region.
A small outbreak in a fast food restaurant with no lawsuits could cost about $4,000, but that number jumps to $1.9 million when more than 250 people get sick and some decide to sue the establishment.
Epidemiologic evidence collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce is the likely source of this outbreak. These people reported becoming ill in the time period of March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018. And by the end of her two weeks in the hospital, she had undergone three blood transfusions.
Those who want to purchase romaine salad at grocery stores should first confirm that it was not grown in Yuma, Arizona, according to the CDC. The symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever.
Lettuce from restaurants is suspected to be affected, as well as bagged and pre-chopped lettuce from stores.
The FDA recommends that consumers ask restaurants and other food service establishments where their romaine lettuce originated, and avoid chopped romaine lettuce that originated from Yuma, Arizona.
Last year, an outbreak of 17 E. coli infections were reported in 13 states across the United States, all of which occurred from November 15, 2017 through December 8, 2017.
The outbreak has sickened at least 35 people in 11 states, including 22 people who were hospitalized due to severe food poisoning.
"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", said James E. Rogers, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports.
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