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Romaine Lettuce Has Been Linked to Another E.Coli Outbreak

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Romaine Lettuce Has Been Linked to Another E.Coli Outbreak

Update, 4/21/2018: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region. This warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine. Consumers should not buy or eat lettuce from anywhere, unless it can be confirmed that it’s not from the Yuma area.

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Original, 4/16/2018: For the second time since January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is alerting consumers about a romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak, leading to 22 people being hospitalized in 11 different states. Government investigators believe the outbreak is linked to bagged, chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, so they’re recommending consumers not eat romaine grown in this region.

The states that have been affected include Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia, and Washington.

Investigators have not yet been able to pinpoint particular romaine suppliers linked to the outbreak, but they don’t believe it is connected to the one that occurred in the U.S. and Canada earlier this year — despite it being the same strain of E. coli O157:H7.

So far, no deaths have been reported and it is believed those who have gotten sick contracted the E. coli from salad mixes used in restaurants and bagged romaine purchased in stores. That’s why the CDC advises that if you have bagged, chopped romaine lettuce (including salad mixes) in your fridge, you should toss it ASAP. Since washing your produce won’t help (dangerous E. coli might get stuck in the nooks of leaves), eliminating this green from your diet if your safest bet.

To encourage safety precaution, a Pennsylvania company, Fresh Foods Manufacturing, voluntarily recalled 8,757 pounds of salad products on Saturday, even though none of the confirmed contaminations have been linked to their products. However, the company was concerned their romaine supplier may be linked to the outbreak.

romaine lettuce
Before eating Fresh Foods Manufacturing Co.’s ready-to-eat salad products, make sure it wasn’t produced between April 9, 2018 and April 12, 2018.

Fresh Foods Manufacturing

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E. coli poisoning symptoms include high fever, bloody diarrhea, or severe vomiting that occurs for longer than three days and shows up anywhere from one to 10 days after eating the contaminated food.

Once the outbreak is contained, you should still make a habit of washing your leaves before eating them. Betty Gold, Senior Product Analyst in the Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab of the Good Housekeeping Institute, recommends investing in a salad spinner for this, like OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner ($30, amazon.com), to speed up this process.

Gold also recommends cutting off the root of the lettuce head before washing it and putting it in your spinner. “A lot of the dirt and icky stuff tends to hide in there and this will make it easier to clean the bottom of the leaves,” Gold says.

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