A multistate E. coli outbreak has sent at least 22 people to the hospital and prompted health officials to advise consumers across the country to throw out any store-bought chopped romaine lettuce, including prepackaged salads and salad mixes. The outbreak has been traced to the Yuma, Ariz., growing region, but it is not yet pinned to a common grower, supplier, distributor or brand.
According to a report by Fox News, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tallied a total of 35 infections across 11 states, including three cases of kidney failure. While no deaths related to the outbreak have been reported, symptoms of E. coli can present as diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. It can take up to three to four days for symptoms to appear, meaning more cases may be coming.
The CDC is advising retailers and restaurants to stop selling chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma region, which is home to the annual Lettuce Festival and bills itself as the winter lettuce capital. The Produce Marketing Association, Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, United Fresh and Western Growers released a statement on the outbreak, and reassured consumers that nearly all romaine lettuce now being harvested and shipped throughout the U.S. is from the California growing areas.
The Consumer Reports is advising against consumers purchasing any romaine lettuce regardless of where it’s grown while the outbreak is ongoing, including unbagged romaine or hearts of romaine.
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