Romaine lettuce is not safe to eat, CDC warns United States consumers

Glen Mclaughlin
November 24, 2018

The CDC is calling for all USA consumers, restaurants and retailers to dispose of all romaine lettuce.

This newest update by the CDC adds 32 new cases to the growing list of individuals who have contracted E. coli from eating romaine lettuce. One person has developed HUS in the current outbreak.

The CDC noted that the "fingerprint" of the E. coli detected in recent weeks matches the DNA makeup of the version that was found in leafy greens in 2017, but not in the romaine lettuce that sickened about 200 people in April and May. That means heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, lettuce mixes and a classic Caesar salad. As the agency investigates the outbreak, it said anyone with romaine lettuce in their house should throw it away, even if no one has gotten sick from it.

Refrigerator drawers and shelves where romaine lettuce had been stored should be sanitized, the CDC said.

No deaths have been reported, but 13 of the people who became sick in the U.S. were hospitalized.

What the heck is going on with romaine lettuce?

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The illnesses started on dates ranging from October 8-31. "This year, we're a month earlier, so we're earlier in the process, earlier in the throes of an outbreak", Gottlieb said.

If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away. Restaurants should not serve it, stores should not sell it, and people should not buy it, no matter where or when the lettuce was grown.

"A traceback investigation" is underway to find the source of the romaine lettuce consumed by people who became ill", the agency said.

Most E. coli bacteria are benign but some can cause illness, with symptoms including severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Children under 5, adults older than 65 and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with chronic diseases, are more likely to develop severe illness, but even healthy children and adults can become seriously ill.

No supplier, grower, or other source has been identified at this time.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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