Unfortunately, we’ve got more bad news coming from the food industry this week and it has to do with a salad staple. Romaine lettuce is behind an outbreak of E. coli illnesses in the United States and Canada.
It is serious enough that the CDC is requesting that NO ONE should buy, sell, or eat romaine lettuce, and restaurants should not serve it until they trace the source of the outbreak. If you have any in your household – whether it is whole, in a pre-cut salad, or leaves – the government agency is asking that you dispose of it immediately.
Washing the lettuce does not guarantee that it will be free of bacteria. Once you have thrown it out, it is advised that you disinfect the areas of your kitchen and refrigerator where the lettuce was stored.
So far, 18 people have been sickened in Canada and 32 in multiple states throughout the U.S. 13 of those 32 in the States have been hospitalized. The Food and Drug Administration has determined that this incident is not connected to the strain that contaminated romaine in the spring.
That outbreak infected over 200 people and caused 5 deaths. Common symptoms of an E. coli infection include stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting. Many people recover on their own, but complications can cause a severe kidney condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
The CDC will continue to investigate the outbreak and work to determine the producer(s) of the contaminated product. Until then, keep away from the romaine!