Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce


Last week, Food Poisoning Bulletin told you that government officials did not have a specific food in mind. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that outbreak - its source was not identified in the USA - over in January.

So far 35 cases of E. coli illness in 11 states have been reported and linked to the outbreak. In most cases, symptoms appear three to four days after the bacteria is ingested.

"Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick", the CDC said. No specific grower, supplier, distributors, or brand has been identified. Gieraltowski says the earlier outbreak was never conclusively linked to romaine (although Canadian investigators of the same outbreak issued a romaine recall based on their findings). Fresh Foods has recalled salads made with chopped romaine, and Freshway Foods has recalled salads as well.

A 1996 large E. coli O157 outbreak sickened 70 who were mostly children.

Any lettuce that came from that area (and there's a LOT!) has been pulled from shelves, people are urged to dispose of any recently purchased from the store that originated in that region. At this time, ill people are not reporting whole heads or hearts of romaine. The symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever.

As of Friday, no deaths were reported in the latest outbreak but three of those sickened developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, the CDC reported. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

"Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region". If it is from Yuma, Arizona, or the retailer doesn't know, do not buy it and do not eat it.

Giant Eagle, recalling multiple items prepared with romaine lettuce and sold in its Giant Eagle, Market District and GetGo locations across western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana. We get answers, compensation for our clients who have been injured, and justice through our work. Read CDC's advice to consumers, restaurants, and retailers. What makes this E.coli strain particularly unsafe?