Skip out that Caesar salad for a while. An E. coli outbreak that hit the United States late last week has been traced to romaine lettuce grown in certain regions of the country.
The outbreak has affected 11 states so far, with a total of 35 cases reported, resulting in twenty-two hospitalizations. Luckily, no deaths have been reported.
On April 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement advising consumers to find out the origin of their romaine before buying or eating. The lettuce causing concern was linked to Yuma, Arizona. The CDC reports that only lettuce from this region needs to be avoided or thrown away.
However, just to be safe, Consumer Reports advises considers to avoid buying romaine altogether — at least until the outbreak is over.
“Consumer Reports’ experts believe that it could be difficult for consumers to determine where the romaine they purchase is from, which is why they believe it’s best to avoid the lettuce altogether,” Consumer Reports wrote in a post.
The outbreak is widespread. Pennsylvania had the most cases of infection with nine. Idaho has seen eight, and New Jersey reported seven. There were also cases in Connecticut, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia, and Washington. All victims were sickened between March 22 and March 31.
One Pennsylvania company, Fresh Foods Manufacturing, announced Saturday that it would voluntarily recall 8,757 pounds of retail salad products. Although no E. coli cases have been linked to the company, Fresh Foods is concerned a supplier may have been at risk.
Laura Gieraltowski, Ph.D., M.P.H., leads the Foodborne Outbreak Response Team at the CDC and predicts that there will be more reports of illness linked to the outbreak in the coming weeks.
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