Friday, 27 April, 2018

Multistate E. coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce from Arizona

35 sick from E. Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce E. coli tied to lettuce sickens dozens in 11 states
Melissa Porter | 17 April, 2018, 00:58

The CDC tracked the infections across eleven states to romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, but no brand or grower has been identified, according to the CDC. There were also cases in Connecticut, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia and Washington state.

The contaminated lettuce was sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma.

The move comes after a warning late last week by the CDC warning that chopped romaine lettuce was linked to an E. coli outbreak in 11 states which had left at least 35 people sick, including two Mahoning County women.

In the warning, CDC officials said people who have purchased chopped romaine lettuce from stores "should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick". However, preliminary information indicates that the chopped romaine lettuce was from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. Most people infected with E. Coli 0157 are better within five to seven days.

The New Jersey Department of Health has said that the E. coli cases in the state had "a possible association with a chain restaurant", but did not name the specific chain. Those symptoms are often accompanied by a low fever. Twenty-six (93%) of 28 people interviewed reported consuming romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started.

Consumer Reports said it would be hard for buyers to tell where the romaine was grown, which is why they are saying consumers should avoid romaine altogether until the threat passes. These people reported becoming ill in the time period of March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018. "If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away".

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 48 million Americans are sickened, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year because of food-related illnesses.

They also confirmed that she had contracted Shiga toxin-producing E. coli - a severe strain of E. coli that can potentially cause people to become dangerously ill.

State and local health department officials are investigating multiple reports of E. coli infections likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce. Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Some reported illnesses occurred after consumers ate lettuce from casual restaurants.

Lettuce from restaurants is suspected to be affected, as well as bagged and pre-chopped lettuce from stores. The Produce Marketing Association, Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, United Fresh and Western Growers released a statement on the outbreak, and reassured consumers that almost all romaine lettuce now being harvested and shipped throughout the U.S.is from the California growing areas.