Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Chopped Romaine Lettuce Unsafe? Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Vegetable

Chopped Romaine Lettuce Unsafe? Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Vegetable

Fraser is now suing Panera Bread and its lettuce supplier, Ohio-based Freshway Foods Inc., after health officials identified chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, as the culprit of the outbreak.

States that have reported people infected with the E. coli strain include Washington, Idaho, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and MI.

The CDC website indicates, "no specific grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified".

The New Jersey Department of Health on Friday said that people "who have bought romaine lettuce - including salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce - should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick".

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In another development, a group of five produce grower trade groups issued a joint statement on April 14 that said its members are cooperating with government investigators and are working closely to identify the source of the outbreak tied to chopped romaine from the Yuma, Ariz., growing area, adding that almost all romaine being harvested and shipped now is from California areas not implicated in the outbreak. Most people infected with E. Coli 0157 are better within five to seven days.

Panera bread says they have begun getting shipments of romaine lettuce from a different provider, after a warning from the Centers for Disease Control regarding a possible E. coli contamination in romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region. Those symptoms are often accompanied by a low fever. Some of its types are pathogenic that can cause illness through exposure to contaminated food or water, or contact with animals or other people. If you can not confirm the source of the chopped romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it. The CDC also recommends that if consumers have already purchased bagged or chopped lettuce, it should be thrown away immediately.

The FDA, in conjunction with federal, state, and local partners, found that the chopped romaine in question was grown or originated from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona.

CDC also said the number of cases may increase "due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported".

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Twenty-two of those affected had to be hospitalized in the current outbreak, including three with kidney failure, CR reported.

The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads. Some reported illnesses occurred after consumers ate lettuce from casual restaurants.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7) infections.

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