Don't eat romaine lettuce, CDC now warns amid E. coli outbreak

Don't eat romaine lettuce, CDC now warns amid E. coli outbreak

Don't eat romaine lettuce, CDC now warns amid E. coli outbreak

Consumers should not buy or eat romaine lettuce, either at a grocery store, deli, or restaurant, unless you can confirm it is not from Yuma, Arizona. Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, throw out any romaine lettuce if you're uncertain about where it was grown.

Yuma County is responsible for 90 percent of all leafy vegetables grown in the US, from November to March, according to the county's Chamber of Commerce .

An unusually virulent strain of E. coli bacteria on romaine lettuce has sent 31 people to hospitals in 16 states, including Montana, and health officials are urging consumers to throw out any of the lettuce they may have bought recently. The CDC said five victims have developed kidney failure, though no deaths have been reported.

The FDA recommends that consumers ask grocers, restaurants, and other food service establishments where their romaine lettuce originated, and avoid any romaine lettuce, whether chopped, whole head or hearts, that originated from Yuma. Ill people in Alaska reported eating lettuce from whole heads of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

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According to the CDC, the lettuce causing people to get sick comes from the Yuma, Arizona growing region, though no particular grower, brand, supplier or distributor has been identified. "Illnesses that occurred after March 29, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported", the CDC said.

Wegmans pulled products that contained chopped romaine lettuce from its shelves on April 13. While the warnings focus on store-bought romaine lettuce, the warning does extend to all restaurants, as well. The CDC said that investigation of the outbreak is ongoing. A STEC (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli ) infection and hemolytic uremic syndrome can both be deadly.

The current outbreak is not related to a recent multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections from November to December 2017 linked to consumption of leafy greens.

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