romaine lettuce

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US Officials Say Don't Eat Romaine Lettuce, Citing E. Coli Outbreak

November 20, 2018 - 3:59 pm

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - U.S. health officials are warning people to avoid eating romaine lettuce as an E. coli outbreak has sickened 32 people in 11 states.

The Food and Drug Administration says it's working with officials in Canada, where people are also being warned to stay away from romaine lettuce. The strain identified is different than the one linked to romaine earlier this year, but it appears similar to one linked to leafy greens last year.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency doesn't yet have enough information to request suppliers issue a recall. But he says suppliers can help by withdrawing romaine products until the contamination can be identified.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control offers the following advice:

  • Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. -- This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.
  • If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
  • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.
  • Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing romaine

Most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, but some produce toxins that can cause severe illness.

Take action if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection:

  • Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
  • Report your illness to the health department.

The last illness was reported on Oct. 31, according to officials; and no deaths have been reported.

This comes after a separate outbreak connected with romain last spring reportely killed five people and sickend more than 200 nationwide.

Learn more about this latest outbreak from the CDC at this link

The Associated Press contributed to this report.