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UPDATE: CDC Says E. coli Outbreak May Not Be Related to Romaine Lettuce

UPDATE: CDC Says E. coli Outbreak May Not Be Related to Romaine Lettuce

The outbreak has already claimed a life here in the U.S.

UPDATE: Nearly a week after Consumer Reports criticized the CDC and the FDA for failing to respond to a widespread E.coli outbreak, the CDC has said, in an interview with NBC News, that it’s too soon to blame romaine lettuce for the outbreak.

Ian Williams, chief of the CDC's Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch, told NBC News that some of those affected have claimed not to have eaten any romaine lettuce prior to becoming ill. “And acting too soon to blame one particular crop might leave people at risk in case it turns out something else,” he said.

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According to NBC News, while Canadian officials previously reported that they traced the bacteria to romaine lettuce, they were unable to pinpoint which particular source was contaminated. The last person to become sick was treated in early December. It’s possible that all the contaminated sources have been discarded—especially given lettuce’s short shelf life. But “If a similar situation caused this outbreak, then a fresh wave of E. coli cases could be looming,” said Williams.

The original story from January 5, continues, below.

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There are a lack of recall instructions on a widespread outbreak of E.coli thanks to contaminated romaine lettuce affecting both the United States and Canada, and neither the Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been able to pinpoint the source of contamination.

Consumer Reports, an advocacy group, has pushed both the CDC and the FDA to warn the public to not eat any romaine lettuce—this comes after more than 58 people have fallen ill, and one person in the United States has died.

NBC News reports that the CDC first shared information on these lettuce-related illnesses on December 28; it reported that 17 people became ill in 13 different states starting in November. The situation is worse in Canada, where the Public Health Agency has counted more than 40 illnesses.

While some are calling for the FDA to publicly issue a recall or advise Americans to throw out their romaine lettuce, NBC reports that the group said there isn’t enough data to make recommendations just yet. In a statement released on Thursday, the CDC said they’re investigating and will immediately advise the public when they’ve uncovered more information.

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While cooking and boiling lettuce could most likely eliminate any trace of E.coli or other food-borne illnesses, it’s more likely that those affected became sick after using romaine lettuce in their salads.

But those at Consumer Reports are saying the risk is too great—regardless if either the CDC or the FDA discovers the exact source of E.coli contamination, it might be a smart move to toss your romaine, and switch to a different leafy green (such as kale) for the time being.


UPDATE: CDC Says E. coli Outbreak May Not Be Related to Romaine Lettuce - Recipes

Lettuce is probably safe to buy and consume now.

On May 16, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an update indicating that the E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma region of Arizona had spread to three additional states (Iowa, Nebraska, and Oregon) and sickened 23 more people since its last update on May 9. However, the agency explained that stores and restaurants are now likely clear of all contaminated lettuce, providing hope that the outbreak may finally come to an end.

The Food and Drug Administration released an update confirming that all production and distribution of romaine lettuce from the Yuma region had halted the final date of harvest was April 16. Since romaine lettuce has a 21-day shelf life, the FDA said, “It is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is still available.”

Of course, “unlikely” is not a complete vote of confidence that no additional illnesses will arise, but it seems promising.

The current total case count is 172 illnesses in 32 states. There has been one death linked to the outbreak, along with 75 hospitalizations and 20 cases of hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

As for the additional illnesses that surfaced between the May 9 and May 16 updates, the CDC has a likely explanation. They claim that these victims were initially infected when contaminated lettuce “was likely still available in stores, restaurants, and in peoples’ homes.” It takes an average of two to three weeks after the point of infection for the CDC to be notified of an E. coli case.

The CDC has removed its instructions to throw away romaine lettuce if you cannot confirm its area of production. Romaine lettuce is probably safe to buy from stores and restaurants without risking E. coli from the outbreak.

The specific source of the bacteria has yet to be found, and the FDA investigation is ongoing. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against restaurants and suppliers by the law firm Marler Clark, which specializes in foodborne illness cases. The goal of these lawsuits, according to the firm’s managing partner Bill Marler, is to “get to the bottom of where the contamination occurred.”

The Yuma region of Arizona supplies “virtually all lettuce sold in [the United States] during the winter months,” according to The Washington Post. During the outbreak, production shifted to California.

Some say this outbreak has worsened so severely that it parallels some of the world’s biggest food poisoning scares.


CDC Says New E. Coli Outbreak Potentially Linked to Romaine Lettuce, 12 Sick

Six states have reported an E. coli outbreak potentially linked to romaine lettuce, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

Twelve individuals have been infected with the strain and five people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Officials in Michigan identified the outbreak of "E. coli 0157:H7" in a sample of a single-head package of Tanimura & Antle romaine lettuce during a routine sampling on Nov. 6.

The sample of romaine was determined to be the same strain identified among sick people associated with the E. coli outbreak. However, this information alone is not enough to prove a link in the outbreak, the CDC reported.

The organization advises retailers and consumers to not eat, sell or serve Tanimura & Antle&aposs recalled single-head package of romaine.

According to the CDC, "People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) two to eight days (average of three to four days) after swallowing the germ."

Symptoms of the infection can include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some individuals may have a fever, which is usually less than 101-degrees Fahrenheit.

Some infections may not have been reported yet as it takes an average of two to four weeks between when a person gets sick and when the illness is reported, according to CNN.

The investigation is still ongoing to determine whether people got sick from the recalled lettuce.

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The CDC will continue to provide updates when available.

According to the agency, this outbreak is different from two other E. coli outbreaks that the CDC recently announced: one that infected at least 23 people in 12 states and another that&aposs sickened 21 people and caused one death in eight states.


"CDC is advising that consumers do not eat any romaine lettuce because no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified," the alert stated.

Here's what the CDC further said about the advice to throw away any type of romaine lettuce:

  • 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, the CDC said.

The current outbreak is not related to the most recent E.Coli outbreak that the agency said was over as of June 28.

E. Coli symptoms vary from person to person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting, according to the CDC. Some people may have a fever, which usually is not very high. Some infections are mild while others may be servere or life-threatening. The CDC warns that about 5-10 percent of people develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.

Most people become ill about three to four days after consuming something that contains the bacteria but illnesses can start anywhere between one to 10 days after exposure, the CDC says.


Romaine Lettuce Recall Update: Six People Suffer Acute Kidney Failure Following E.Coli Outbreak

A severe outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 has resulted in 39 hospitalizations, including six cases of acute kidney failure. The illness has been traced to romaine lettuce from Salinas, California.

At time of writing, 67 incidents of food poisoning related to the outbreak have been reported across 19 states.

In response, the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) issued warning on November 26, requesting consumers avoid eating, and retailers avoid selling, romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California.

As Newsweek previously reported, the warning affects all brands and use-by-dates of whole heads of romaine, organic romaine, hearts of romaine and packages of pre-cut lettuce or salad mixes that include romaine, such as baby romaine, spring mix and Caesar salad. It also includes romaine found in salad wraps.

Anyone who has purchased romaine lettuce&mdashor food products that contain romaine lettuce&mdashis advised to check the label to find out where it was grown.

If the label says "grown in Salinas," the advice is to throw it away. The same goes for any product that does not specify a growing region or says "grown in Salinas" in addition to one or more other locations. Similarly, if you are unsure what type of lettuce it is, the advice from the CDC is to chuck it.

Romaine lettuce that has been cultivated in a greenhouse or hydroponically and is labeled "indoor-grown" does not appear to be affected by the outbreak.

Symptoms associated with E. coli include bloody diarrhea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps and usually develop within three to four days. However, infection can start any time between a day to 10 days after exposure.

The advice on the CDC website is: "Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine."

While most people will recover within 5 to 7 days, some will develop complications.

It is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of people diagnosed will develop a form of acute kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms include fatigue, loss of pinkness in the cheeks and inside the lower eyelids, and reduced urination.

Anyone who develops HUS should be hospitalized&mdashwhile most people will recover within a few weeks, it can trigger other serious complications and even death.

While testing has already traced the outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas, California, investigations are still ongoing.

The CDC will provide updates with more details regarding the source of contamination as well as any other products that may be affected by the outbreak as soon as the information becomes available.


Sicknesses from the outbreak

In total, 167 people across 27 different states were infected by tainted products. Of that number, 85 consumers were hospitalized and 15 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure. Luckily, there were no deaths linked to the outbreak.

Researchers at the CDC say that the strain of E. coli from this outbreak is the same one that was associated with similar outbreaks in 2017 and 2018. Infected consumers reported many of the common symptoms linked to E. coli exposure, including vomiting, severe stomach cramps, and diarrhea.

The CDC says that consumers who have questions about this outbreak should call their state’s health department for more information. Additional resources have been posted on the agency’s website here.

Christopher Maynard is a New York-based writer and editor who has worked as a security guard, high school teacher, theatrical lighting designer and volunteer fireman. He is a graduate of Marist College.

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Symptoms of E. coli

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, which can be bloody, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. E. coli infections typically clear up within a week. However, more serious cases can lead to a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

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Five people sickened in the current outbreak have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased urination. These complications are more common in young children under 5, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

Rob Philippou from Garden City, New York, is one of those sickened in the outbreak.

"There have been nights where I've been really nauseous, times when I've had really bad abdominal pain, terrible cramps," he told CBS News.


Romaine Possible Culprit in 12 E.coli Cases

Nov. 9, 2020 – Twelve people have been sickened and five hospitalized from an E.coli outbreak possibly tied to romaine lettuce.

Laboratory testing last week detected E.coli in a sample of single-head romaine lettuce produced by California-based Tanimura & Antle, which launched a recall of lettuce sold in dozens of states.

Although the investigation continues, the CDC says there is “not enough epidemiologic and traceback information available at this time to determine if ill people got sick from eating Tanimura & Antle romaine lettuce.”

The illnesses have occurred in California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Whole heads of romaine lettuce sold in dozens of states have been recalled after a testing sample discovered potential E. coli contamination, the FDA says.

California-based Tanimura & Antle announced the recall on Friday.

Nearly 3,500 cartons of single-head romaine lettuce bags are included in the recall. They were sold at Walmart, Food Lion, and other retailers in: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico.

The label will have the Universal Product Code (UPC) number 0-27918-20314-9 and a “packed on” date of Oct. 15 or Oct. 16. No illnesses have been reported.

E. coli may cause diarrhea, often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults recover completely within a week, some may have a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death. If you get any of the symptoms, the FDA recommends contacting your doctor.


Romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak has claimed its first casualty [UPDATED]

Thursday, May 3 Update: CNN and other outlets report today that the E. coli outbreak tied to prepackaged chopped romaine lettuce has now spread to 25 states, affecting 121 people, including the outbreak’s first casualty in California. The CDC stated earlier this week that “the strain identified in this outbreak is particularly virulent and known to be associated with higher hospitalization and complication rates.” Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, and begin three to four days after consuming the tainted substance. The most recent cases reported symptoms starting on April 21.

If you miss romaine lettuce, yesterday Lifehacker offered a substitute for your Caesar salad needs , even though it pointed out “it’s reportedly safe to consume romaine lettuce that you’re positively sure isn’t from Yuma, Arizona.” Still, “it’s also perfectly normal to feel a little wary of that particular leaf.”

[Note: Lifehacker, like The Takeout, is owned by Univision Communications.]

Thursday, April 20: We reported earlier this week on various food safety issues, including an E. coli outbreak tied to chopped romaine lettuce sold in prepackaged salad mixes. Since then, the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention has reported that the outbreak has spread to 16 states and has affected 53 people. So now, the CDC is very clear on its website : “If you have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes with chopped romaine, don’t eat it and throw it away.” Can’t get much clearer than that.

The CDC says that the outbreak can not be traced to a specific farmer or supplier, it does say that the affected lettuce appears to come from the Yuma, Arizona region. But if you’re curious as to how the CDC manages to track these types of outbreaks, NPR notes that the CDC traced the infection “to romaine lettuce after interviewing many of the sick people and asking about the foods they had eaten and other exposures before they became ill. Nearly all—41 of 43—said they had eaten romaine lettuce in the week before they were interview[ed]… After checking with the restaurants where the interviewees had eaten, it became clear the restaurants had used bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make their salads. The CDC said, the patients didn’t report whole heads or hearts of romaine.”

So that bagged romaine-containing salad in your fridge, even if you’ve already eaten out of it and not gotten sick? Toss it. Don’t even look at. Just throw it away.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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DISCUSSION

Romaine is a trash weed variety of lettuce and should be thrown away anyway. The only reason it is so popular is because big lettuce has been pushing it on the market because it’s cheaper to produce than iceberg. Romaine is much more heat tolerant and can be grown in places like Arizona, where there are vast tracts of cheap, otherwise useless land. It also grows more upright, so you can grow several heads of romaine in the same space as a single head of iceberg (3x the money for the same amount of land!). The downsides are many. It’s relatively easily contaminated, and harder to wash once it is. The only part of the leaf that’s crisp on romaine is the stem. The rest of the leaf is as flacid and floppy as grampa’s wanger after a six pack. It does have a bit more “flavor” but most of that flavor is bitterness. If you like bitterness, just go eat some dandelions. People always gloat about it having more nutrition than iceberg, but who cares about nutrition anyway? Yes, it is does have more nutrients than iceberg, but iceberg also has nutrients, just less of them. The main difference is that romaine has much more vitamin B, But who eats lettuce only salads? just throw some carrots, spinach, or kale in your iceberg lettuce salad if you’re some kind of nutrient obsessed nut, and call it good.


CDC: E. Coli Infections Linked to Romaine Recall

Nov. 21, 2019 -- The federal government is warning consumers not to purchase or consume any romaine lettuce from the Salinas, CA, growing region after the recall in November of premade salads sold across the country.

The CDC says as of Dec. 19 that 138 people across 25 states infected with E. coli are linked to the outbreak. Fifty-eight of them have been hospitalized, and 10 developed a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported. The state and federal investigation has identified one grower linked to the outbreak in Salinas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the CDC say most romaine products sold at retail stores include a label showing where the lettuce was harvested. If the lettuce says "Salinas" or something similar, do not purchase or eat it, the agencies say. The threat is severe enough that the agencies say if you cannot tell where the lettuce came from, throw it away or return it to the store.

Last week, more than 48 tons of premade salads sold at national chains around the country were recalled over fears of E. coli contamination.

This particular strain, E. coli 0157:H7 is considered a more serious infection. Meanwhile, health officials in Wisconsin reported Dec. 6 that they discovered E. coli 0157 in an unopened bag of Fresh Express brand Leafy Green Romaine salad from Salinas in an sick person's home. Further testing confirmed the strain of E. coli found in that bag matched strains that sickened people in Wisconsin and elsewhere. However, no single brand or type of lettuce has been connected to all of the cases.

Meanwhile, these cases appear separate from the outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 tied to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad kits also announced in December. Those kits include romaine also grown in Salinas, but health officials say it includes a different strain of E. coli.

Missa Bay LLC of Swedesboro, NJ, recalled 97,272 pounds of salads with meat or poultry because the lettuce may be contaminated. The products were made from Oct. 14 through Oct. 16 and are stamped “EST. 18502B” inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection mark.

The salads were shipped to distribution centers in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The recall includes salads sold at Aldi, Target, and Walmart stores, and at Domino’s Pizza, among others. For a full list of retailers, visit this U.S. Department of Agriculture website.

This larger recall comes after the Maryland Department of Health announced seven patients there were infected by E. coli from salads sold at Sam’s Clubs there. Those salads had the same establishment number -- “EST. 18502B” -- as the products in the Missa Bay recall.

E. coli typically causes diarrhea, often bloody,and vomiting. Some cases last longer and become severe. Most people recover within a week.

Anyone with questions about the recall should call Mary Toscano, consumer affairs manager for Bonduelle, Missa Bay’s parent company, at 800-800-7822.


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