Chopped Romaine Lettuce Linked to E. Coli Outbreak

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So far 35 cases of E. coli illness in 11 states have been reported and linked to the outbreak. Although none of the confirmed E. coli cases have yet been linked to Fresh Foods, the company is concerned that its romaine supplier may have been involved in the outbreak.

Traceback investigations are ongoing to determine the source of chopped romaine lettuce supplied to restaurant locations where ill people ate.

Consumers anywhere in the US who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes, should not eat it and throw it away - even if you have eaten some of it already. The CDC also recommends that if consumers have already purchased bagged or chopped lettuce, it should be thrown away immediately.

Numerous cases so far were contracted from salad mixes used in restaurants, but some cases have been linked to bagged romaine purchased in stores.

The advice is based on interviews with 28 of the ill individuals in which 93% of them reported consuming romaine lettuce within the week they began feeling sick. Twenty-two of the ill individuals have been hospitalized.

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"Consumer Reports' experts believe that it could be hard 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 said in a release.

The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections vary, but usually include severe and painful stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea.

Illnesses that occurred after March 27, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported. Some of its types are pathogenic that can cause illness through exposure to contaminated food or water, or contact with animals or other people. "The FDA now does not have information to indicate that whole-head romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine have contributed to this outbreak".

Consumer Reports has warned the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce again after another outbreak of E. coli was tracked back to romaine grown in Arizona.

"At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified", the CDC said. "It is unrealistic to expect consumers to figure out whether their romaine was produced in Arizona or somewhere else, especially when eating in a restaurant", she says. The DNA fingerprint of the bacteria in that outbreak is different. Although many infections resolve in 5-7 days, they can result in serious illness, including a potentially serious condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

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