CDC Says to Avoid All Romaine Lettuce Amid E. Coli Outbreak

State officials urging caution with romaine lettuce after E. coli outbreak

State officials urging caution with romaine lettuce after E. coli outbreak

In an earlier outbreak this year, 59 people in the US and Canada became ill from a risky strain of E. coli bacteria connected to romaine.

The current CDC warnings cover whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, as well as chopped romaine, salads and salad mixes that contain romaine. But consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought romaine at home, including in salads and salad mixes, should throw it away immediately if they don't know its specific source, officials said - even if some had already been eaten with no ill effects.

The CDC's expanded warning today did not go as far as Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization, did in recent days, urging people to avoid eating any form of romaine lettuce from any region because of the "potentially fatal consequences" until the government declares it "definitely safe".

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The chopped romaine lettuce comes from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

According to the Post, a "common grower, supplier, distributor or brand has yet been identified", though the CDC has determined that the Yuma, Arizona growing region is the common denominator. No one has died but 31 have been hospitalized and five have developed a severe complication of E. coli infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome. If a consumer is unable to confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, they're advised not to buy it or eat it.

New cases in Arizona, Alaska, California, Montana and Louisiana were reported to the CDC this week, following reports of illnesses largely in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.

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"Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region". Symptoms included stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, the CDC said.

Romaine lettuce is sometimes packed in the field and shipped directly to restaurants or grocery stores. Of these afflicted with an E. coli strain, 3-1 individuals are hospitalized. Most people recover within a week. Infections can range from mild to life-threatening.

As with most outbreaks, this one involves the industrial food supply chain.

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