But since the growing season has ended, and affected lettuce is now off the shelves, the FDA may never get their answer. Deaths have been confirmed in Arkansas, California, Minnesota and NY with two of those deaths happening in Minnesota.
"Most of the newly reported cases are people who became sick two to three weeks ago, still within the window when contaminated romaine was available for sale", the CDC said. That is much higher than the results of a survey of healthy people in which 46% said they ate romaine lettuce the week before.
A total of 197 people have fallen ill in 35 states, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Romaine lettuce grown in the Arizona region was last harvested in mid-April. While almost 90 percent of those who fell ill reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were sickened, some told the CDC that they did not personally eat the lettuce but were in close contact with somebody who did. For that reason, the announcement is delayed.
Eating the contaminated lettuce may cause diarrhea, vomiting and even kidney failure in severe cases.
This is the largest outbreak of its kind since a deadly E. coli outbreak in 2006 that was linked to spinach. Because of that lag time, people who become sick after May 6, 2018, may not be included in reports at this time.
The other person who died lives in California. For example, the CDC emphasize that proper hygiene is the most effective way to minimize this risk.
In addition, proper food preparation is key. To prevent contamination, thoroughly wash your hands before handling or cutting fruits and vegetables, and also wash or scrub all fruits and vegetables under running water before consuming or cooking. Use a separate cutting board for fruits and vegetables that is never used for cutting or preparing raw meats, poultry, or seafood.
As noted, the reason of mass poisoning was the salad of Arizona, which was contaminated with E. coli.