On Friday afternoon, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded it's warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce, now including whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.
Romaine lettuce has been linked to the growing number of people hospitalized due to a multistate E. coli outbreak. 53 people have been infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli in 16 states since March 13, the CDC said. Thirty-one of those ill have been hospitalized. Five of them developed a type of kidney failure associated with an E. coli illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be life-threatening. No deaths have been reported.
The following steps were suggested by the CDC Friday:
- Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.
- Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, throw out any romaine lettuce if you’re uncertain about where it was grown. This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.
- Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce.