E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce expands to 16 states


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that new information about the illnesses in Alaska led them to expand a warning beyond chopped romaine to include any type of romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts of romaine.

Consumers in IL who have store-bought romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. Therefore, consumers should throw out any romaine lettuce in their homes, even if partially eaten, and avoid eating romaine at restaurants unless the establishment can confirm that the lettuce is not from Yuma.

No deaths have been reported, the CDC said. According to Consumer Reports, this action comes after federal food safety warnings about contaminated chopped romaine lettuce. However, the CDC said unless you can confirm where the lettuce is from, it should be thrown away.

The agency had previously instructed people not to eat chopped and bagged romaine lettuce from the area.

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The CDC has been unable to identify a specific grower, supplier, distributor or brand responsible for the contaminated lettuce. Consumers should avoid any pre-cut romaine lettuce from the Yuma area.

Illnesses have been reported in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce. Five of them developed a type of kidney failure associated with an E. coli illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be life-threatening.

The CDC traced the outbreak to the lettuce after interviewing numerous ill people about where and what they'd eaten recently. In regards to the lettuce recall, it included a link to the CDC page regarding the latest outbreak.