Food safety alert: Chopped romaine lettuce linked to E. coli O157:H7 outbreak

Do you have a bag of pre-chopped romaine lettuce in your refrigerator? Throw it out.

That also goes for any packaged salads or salad mixes that contain romaine.

Public health authorities are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to chopped romaine lettuce grown in Arizona.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 35 people from 11 states have been infected with the strain of E. coli causing the outbreak so far.

Twenty two of those people had to be hospitalized, including three who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (a type of kidney failure). No deaths have been reported.

So far 35 people in 11 states have been infected with the outbreak strain, the CDC says.

What to do

At this time, no specific products or brands have been identified. So follow the CDC’s advice:

  • If you’re anywhere in the United States and have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, throw it out.
  • Also throw out any salads or salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce.
  • It doesn’t matter if some of your lettuce was already eaten and no one has gotten sick. Throw it out anyway.
  • Before buying romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region. Can’t confirm the source? Don’t buy or eat it.

Read about signs and symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli here.

Photo: CDC.

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